Hi Asha, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a Paediatric Critical Care Sister and I have been working at King's for nearly eight years. I am profoundly deaf and use communication aids such as British Sign Language/English interpreters and other assistive technology.
You've recently been appointed as new joint Chair of King’s Able (the staff disability network). What does this appointment mean to you?
I have been part of King's Able since it was set up several years ago. Over the last 12 months, I had been standing in as Chair following the departure of our previous Chair.
Having worked on setting the network's objectives with other members and the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team at King's, it is an honour to be able to continue as a joint Chair and take the network forward. In the long-term I want King's to be a leading example when it comes to disability, both for its staff and the community it serves.
What are you hoping to bring to the role?
I have a wealth of experience and tangible personal lived experience of being a disabled person. It is my strongly held belief and passion that every individual has a voice regardless of their disability, and should have equal access to any and all job opportunities, as well as to other opportunities that arise within their respective departments.
Most importantly, they should each have a good working experience whilst employed here at King’s.
Can you tell us about the function of King’s Able and some of the work you do?
We are a network that provides a safe space for staff to ask questions or to share any concerns. At the moment, we meet virtually once a month and hold a range of awareness days throughout the year.
Our work involves working with other staff members that also want to make a difference. You do not have to have a disability to join the network.
How does King's Able benefit King's patients?
If staff are aware of various disabilities and are supported with the tools and knowledge, they can provide better patient care and our patients will have a positive hospital experience.
Finally, what can we all do to help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion at King's?
Be an ally! Moreover, listen, really listen to the person’s request or the adjustment they require. You must be able to differentiate and understand that because two people may have the same disability, this doesn’t mean they have the same needs.