TUC congress: Raise awareness about invisible impairments, says CSP

Employers need a better understanding of how ‘hidden conditions’ such as dyslexia, arthritis and mental illness can affect staff.


Invisible impairments take many forms, said CSP delegate Alex Mackenzie. Photo: Jess Hurd

This was one of the messages from the CSP in a motion raised at the TUC conference in Brighton on 13 September.

Speaking on behalf of the society, Alex Mackenzie, who chairs the CSP's national group of regional stewards, told delegates that ‘invisible’ impairments could take many forms.

‘Managers and colleagues often forget that there are a wide range of conditions which may be classified as a disability and may impact on the individual in the workplace,’ she said.

‘These include neuro-diverse conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] as well as mental health conditions and long-term conditions like arthritis, cancer and HIV.’

Workplace barriers

She added that a recent CSP disabled members network survey revealed that many physio staff with dyslexia said they faced barriers to obtaining support and reasonable adjustments at work. 

In addition, a study on arthritis and work, published by the charity Arthritis Research UK, indicated that many people with musculoskeletal conditions were reluctant to speak to their manager about their condition for fear of being found unfit for work or dismissed.

Ms Mackenzie commended the TUC for supporting workers with ‘invisible’ conditions, particularly those with atypical neurological problems.

‘The TUC’s paper entitled You don’t look disabled is an excellent resource and I would encourage all affiliates to read it and to ensure that their reps have access to it.’

Ms Mackenzie called on the TUC and its members to continue to raise awareness about the impact of hidden conditions on workers.

The motion was passed.

Author: Robert Millett

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