North East Ambulance Service awarded disability confident leader status

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has retained its status as a Disability Confident Leader.

Achieving Disability Leader status is an external validation of an organisation’s ongoing commitment to promoting the recruitment, engagement and development of disabled people.

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) first received the accreditation in October 2019 and this revalidation shows it is continuing to support employees, as well as helping other organisations to become inclusive employers. 

Chief executive Helen Ray said: “We want NEAS to be a great place to work, with a highly skilled, healthy, engaged and motivated workforce delivering excellent patient care. To be reaccredited as a disability confident leader is a fantastic achievement and recognises the work, we are doing to support disabled people. 

“Disabled people make up a significant proportion of potential talent in the region and as an employer we must ensure we do not miss the opportunity to strengthen our workforce. 

“By taking an organisation-wide approach to embedding disability practice we can break down the barriers which for too long have held disabled people back and ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed in life.”  

The Trust uses the workforce disability equality standard, the NHS equality delivery system and the employer’s network for equality and inclusion framework to help guide its work and improve outcomes for disabled staff and patients.  

In order to maintain the disability confident leader status, the Trust carried out a number of activities in order to attract and retain disabled employees including: offering a fully inclusive recruitment process; giving flexibility and reasonable adjustments at interview and appointment stages; encouraging our suppliers and partner firms to be disability confident through our procurement processes; ensuring employees have sufficient disability equality awareness training, and; supporting all of our workforce to manage their health and mental wellbeing. 

Disability Confident Leader status also requires NEAS to take an active leadership role in encouraging and helping other employers and local businesses on their journey to becoming Disability Confident. NEAS has supported several businesses over the last three years and acted as a champion for the scheme to help other business realise the benefits this brings in addition to ensuring all part of the business understand and meet their obligations under the scheme. 

Pauline Hogarth, chair of the disability staff network Able@NEAS said: “Achieving disability confident leader status is fantastic recognition of the work the network and Trust put into making our workplace inclusive and accessible to disabled people. We have delivered a range of projects over the last three years that have supported this work and we are delighted with the outcome.” 

External assessment of NEAS was validated by NHS Business Services Authority and the Department for Work and Pensions. 

The Disability Confident scheme has been running since November 2016 and supports the Government’s commitment to help one million more disabled people into work. 

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