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Peer Support Service

The RCN’s Peer Support Service for ill and disabled members is a network for sharing experiences and knowledge, promoting a positive approach towards disabled healthcare professionals.

If you are experiencing mid to long term health issues, have an impairment, are Neurodiverse and/or consider yourself to be disabled, the peer support service can help.

These principles are at the heart of the service: 

  • That disabled healthcare professionals face some unique challenges due to the nature of their work and preconceptions of their roles. Sharing experiences allows them to combat isolation and find solutions.
  • That healthcare employers should adapt a “social model” approach to disability – physical and attitudinal barriers are disabling; impairments are not the problem.
  • That employing staff with impairments sends a strong, positive message to patients. This is particularly pertinent at a time where the government is aiming to halve the disability employment gap.
  • That disabled staff bring many skills such as increased resourcefulness and empathy. That the adjustments made for them often benefit other staff too. 
  • That where an impairment is acquired during working life retention ensures that skills, experience and investment are not lost and thus retention of disabled staff makes good business sense. 

What we offer

As the name suggests, the service’s core offer is to put you in touch with other RCN members to talk about the issues that matter to you for mutual support and to share experiences by telephone or email. We also have a closed Facebook group.

The group is facilitated by Holly Chadd, Peer Support Officer. Holly can also provide advice and support to you on practical issues related to remaining in employment. For advice on discrimination, or careers advice, you should contact RCN Direct.

Together, the group works to spread the word about the benefits of employing nurses and HCAs who have impairments through blogging, social media, guidance and articles.

We talk about the most effective ways to support healthcare professionals who are disabled at work and use the lived experience of our members to educate and inspire. If you’d like to tell your story then get in touch at

Join now

To join you just need to complete this form, explaining what you would like to get from the service.

You can call the RCN on 0345 772 6100 if you have any questions.

Most members join the group because of a work-related injury or condition, but membership is open to all RCN members affected by ill-health or disability issues, those who consider themselves to be disabled, and our members with neurodiversity (including those who have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia)

Further information

You can also get help on a range of workplace issues.

Removing Disabling Barriers at Work

Click to read our new guidance, based on the lived experience of our members. 

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Removing Disabling Barriers Webinar

'Removing disabling barriers for safe and effective staffing' explores the value healthcare professionals with  lived experience of disability issues bring and how a diverse workforce is a key part of safe and effective staffing. 

Click to watch the recording any time. You may be asked to register, but this is free. 

Are you a student?

Have a look at our resources, including guidance for students affected by disability on placements.

Join Peer Support

Joining is quick and easy. Just complete this online form
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Ill health, disability & COVID-19

Guidance and resources for our members with lived experience of disability, relating to COVID-19.
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Neurodiverse RCN

Resources for neurodiverse members and information on the development of new guidance.

Disability Equality Standard (WDES)

WDES enables NHS organisations to compare the experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff.

Member Stories

A growing video resource allows you to hear first hand from members with lived experience of ill health and disability.
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Disability Passport guide

A Disability Passport is a document that details the reasonable adjustments a staff member with health or disability issues needs at work.

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Disability Coaching

The Peer Support Service offers telephone based coaching for members with work related disability issues. 
share you experience to help others

Share your experience to help others

We want to hear from healthcare workers who've had workplace adjustments due to a disability or ill health.