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Small changes make a big difference

A lack of awareness of 'reasonable adjustments' to working conditions for members with disabilities can make carrying out their jobs very difficult, delegates heard.

The conference backed a motion by Sheila North, from the Disabled Members Network, for physiotherapy stewards, safety representatives and managers to encourage making information available on adjustments.

Examples included flexible working for people with fluctuating ability, and providing specially adapted equipment and information in different formats, such as audio, large print and Braille.

Ms North said while around 80 people belonged to the Disabled Members Network, she estimated there were about 1,000 physiotherapists with some level of disability who did not use the group's resources and were not aware of the help and support they could receive at work.

Shirley Rainey, from South West stewards, seconding the motion, said many simple things such as colour-coded doors could help: 'Just talking to staff members to see if anything can be done makes lives so much easier, as does challenging unfair treatment where you see it.'

Helen Scott, from Trent stewards but speaking personally, said it was important to put out information about these issues to prevent discrimination against disabled physiotherapists on the part of colleagues resentful of the help they were receiving.

'One person has a condition that means that some days he is well and some days he is not and cannot work. He has an agreement to work a certain number of hours a week but other members of his team are aggrieved. They say, "He works when he feels like it" and "He hasn't come in because he has a hangover"'. 

Motion 33 was carried.

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