FACTORS DETERMINING JOB RETENTION AND RETURN TO WORK FOR DISABLED EMPLOYEES: A QUESTIONNAIRE STUDY OF OPINIONS OF DISABLED PEOPLE'S ORGANIZATIONS IN THE UK
Shirley Sirvastava A1 and Anne M. Chamberlain A2
A1 General Surgery Bradford Royal Infirmary Duckworth Lane Bradford
A2 Academic Unit of Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Medicine, Research School of Medicine University of Leeds Leeds UK
Objectives: To determine the views of organizations of and for disabled people in order to inform the writing of the British Society of Research Medicines policy document "Vocational Rehabilitation - The Way Forward". Patients/Organizations: A single mailing was sent to 98 disability organizations within the UK. Design : A semi-structured postal questionnaire focused on factors (i) within the National Health Service; (ii) external to it, mainly in the workplace, making it difficult for people to stay in work in the presence of disease/disability, or to find work after losing their job (within the last 6 months). Results: A 30% response rate, with many incomplete questionnaires, was obtained so that 24 complete questionnaires were analysed. The dominant findings concerning the National Health Service were, overwhelmingly, that it was perceived as impacting deleteriously on the work of disabled people with delays to consultation, investigation and rehabilitation and a lack of appreciation of workplace issues. Employers were seen as unresponsive to the needs of workers, with negative attitudes to disability. The changes required in both areas were closely related to these findings. Conclusion: Though the organizations surveyed were not representative, nevertheless there was considerable agreement about the need for both the National Health Service and employers to be more responsive to the workplace needs of disabled people.
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