Delivering care through collaboration

Ability Network


The Ability network provides a confidential, psychologically safe space for staff with a disability or long-term health condition and allies.  The Network will enable members to share experiences, information and best practice, offer peer support, and influence positive change for disabled people within the organisation.

Although around 19% of working age adults are thought to be disabled in the UK, only 1.4% of NHSGJ staff have disclosed having a disability (according to the 2021 Workforce monitoring report). Disabled people can face a variety of challenges entering and progressing in the workplace, from the accessibility of buildings, technologies and ways of working to the stigma surrounding many mental and physical health conditions and impairments.

We are committed to creating an environment which is inclusive of and accessible to disabled people. We want to ensure that disabled people are treated with dignity and respect and are given the support they need to thrive. We want to listen to and learn from the needs, concerns and experiences of disabled staff and take informed action to be more inclusive and supportive.

Who is the Network for?

The Network is currently open to any NHSGJ staff members and volunteers who identifies as disabled or has a mental or physical health condition or impairment. This could include staff who have experience of:

  • physical or sensory impairments (such as hearing and visual impairments, MS, mobility challenges);
  • neurodiversity (such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia);
  • mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety);
  • other health/medical conditions (such as HIV, epilepsy, cancer).
  • Allies and carers.

It is important to recognise that disabled people are a very diverse group of individuals, and no experience of being disabled is the same. Not all disabilities are visible or permanent. The Network will never ask you to disclose any disability or health condition.

Aims of the Network

Below are some core aims that the Network might want to consider. However, these need to work for its members, so these will be updated, refined and prioritised as members join and shape the Network to meet their needs and goals. These will also likely change over time as the Network evolves.

  • Provide a safe and confidential space for staff to share their experiences and offer peer support
  • Signpost to internal and external support and advice
  • Share information and best practice with teams, colleagues and the Hospital to improve the experiences of disabled staff
  • Identify topics for events and activities of interest or benefit to Network members
  • Raise awareness of disability issues across the Hospital
  • Encourage greater representation and visibility of disabled staff in all aspects of NHSGJ life
  • Promote the provision and increase awareness of accessible spaces, routes, tools and technologies
  • Promote the provision and increase awareness of accessible and supportive policies and practices
  • Enable the views of disabled staff to inform policy development and decision making at the Hospital by acting as a consultation forum (for example, through representation on the Diversity and Inclusion Group)
  • Contribute to discussions and consultation around the Hospital’s strategic aims and aspirations, notably the NHSGJ Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2025.
  • Take an intersectional approach to supporting disabled staff and work closely with other staff Networks at NHSGJ (such as the Staff Ethnic Minority and LGBT+ Networks.

Terms of reference for the network

How to join

If you want to be involved with the Ability Network, please contact:



award logos for disability confident leader, stonewall top 100,investors in young people gold award, investing in volunteers, sqa approved centre, investors in people