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2010 National Disabled Members' Conference
8 July 2010

This conference is concerned that the new system for recording workplace sickness absence ‘Fit Notes’ is not providing adequate support to disabled women who are returning to work after periods of absence.

In particular we are concerned that some parts of the medical profession fail to understand how public service workplaces are organised, the negotiated agreements trade unions have won and the particular problems disabled women face in managing their attendance at work. In particular women members are worried that time of for gynaecological problems, menopause and menstruation issues are not being deal with sensitively or appropriately, leaving women at risk of employer actions under capability procedures.

Disabled women members of UNISON are reporting their concerns that exchanges of information between employers, GP’s, medical specialists, occupational health and other providers is jeopardising their right to have personal data protected.

This conference views with some alarm that women members are not having their reasonable adjustments met as a result of occupational health recommendations over-riding the recommendations of GP’s and other health professional without reference to, or consultation with disabled members.

We call upon the National Disabled Members Committee to campaign for medical professions to be trained in different aspects of Fit Notes, because we all know that some doctors are refusing to sign up to this new way of recording sickness absence.

On returning to work women members are not having personal development plans actions. Previous achievements are disregarded and financial penalties are imposed such as failure to award incremental salary points.

This conference calls upon the National Disabled Members Committee to:

1.Produce a briefing on how Fit Notes may not be supporting disabled women members.

2.signpost branches to organisations concerned with Women’s cancer and reproductive rights.