Pauline Hogarth, chair of the Trust’s disability staff network Able and vice-chair of the National Ambulance Disability Network, who has been trained to offer workplace needs assessments at NEAS

Additional support to help dyslexic ambulance colleagues thrive at work

New in-house support introduced to provide bespoke assistance

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is strengthening the support it provides to colleagues living with dyslexia.

NEAS is already leading the way nationally with its support for dyslexic colleagues, and was the first ambulance service to receive the Dyslexia Smart Award accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association in December 2021.

Since September 2021, 66 NEAS colleagues have been supported through dyslexia assessments in partnership with Dyslexia North East.

Now, to further improve on this work, the Trust is offering in-house workplace needs assessments, allowing anyone diagnosed with dyslexia to access adjustments bespoke to their needs to help them thrive in their role.

Pauline Hogarth, chair of the Trust’s disability staff network Able and vice-chair of the National Ambulance Disability Network, has been trained to offer the assessments at NEAS.

She said: “Having somebody in-house who has knowledge of the job roles and the pressures our staff face as well as having relationships with managers and departments, means we’re able to provide really effective support and it takes us less time to implement the support an individual needs.

“Most importantly, it means we’re able to offer a real person-centred approach, with the ability to review those assessments as regularly as needed at no extra cost to the service.”

Karen O’Brien, director of people and development at NEAS, added: “Sadly all too often, people join our service living with years of shame associated with living with undiagnosed dyslexia.

“One of our main ambitions as a service is to be a great place to work and grow. In order to do that, our colleagues have to be able to bring their whole self to work, including feeling able to reach out for additional support where it’s needed.

“Relatively simple changes can make the world of difference to someone living with dyslexia and it’s really fantastic to see the difference we’ve been able to make so far over the last two years.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what further impact we’re able to make through this additional in-house support from Pauline, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our staff network, Able, for championing this within our service.”

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