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Disability (protected characteristic)


By definition, a person is covered by the protected characteristic of disability if they have a physical and/or mental impairment which has what the law calls ‘a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. There is no need for a person to have a medically diagnosed cause for their impairment; in effect the check is the impairment and not the cause.


Physical impairments which impact upon an individual such as arthritis, hearing or sight impairment (unless this is correctable by glasses or contact lenses), diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, HIV infection, cancer and multiple sclerosis, as well as loss of limbs or the use of limbs are covered.

It is important to note that HIV infection, cancer and multiple sclerosis are covered as a disability from the point of diagnosis.

Severe disfigurement (such as scarring) is covered even if it has no physical impact on the person with the disfigurement, provided the long-term requirement is met (see below).  

People who self-certify as blind or partially sighted, or who are certified as being blind or partially sighted by a consultant ophthalmologist, are automatically treated as disabled.

Mental impairment includes conditions such as dyslexia and autism, as well as learning disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, and mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia.

Our commitment 

As a mental health service provider, we are particularly committed to ensuring that the protections of the Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act 2005 in relation to mental illness as a disability are provided to users of our services. 

We will;

  • tackle discrimination
  • continue to make sure that people who use our services, who have additional impairments (physical or sensory) or physical health conditions, receive a service of equal quality

In employment, we will;

  • actively promote a culture where the talents and experience of all disabled people are valued.
  • ensure that we provide the support and adjustments that all employees and potential employees require while employed within our Trust. 

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