Hi Gavin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a Senior Occupational Health Physiotherapist. I have been at King's for nearly 13 years. I am deafblind, using communication and visual support workers, as well as my guide dog Moby (pictured) to assist me at work."
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.
What are you hoping to bring to the role?
I will bring lived experience as a disabled employee. My condition has deteriorated over the many years I have been at King's, and this has brought me many challenges and seen many adjustments made to my work practices.
I will also be able to bring my knowledge and experience I have in the field of occupational health to the network. I hope that both of these will allow me to advise and support other staff who have a disability, as well as also provide advice and support on various disability matters.
As a disabled person working here at King's, I know and can see that much needs to be done, and I want to be part of that drive towards a disability-positive and confident change here.
Can you tell us about the function of King's Able and some of the work you do?
The King's Able network is a safe space for staff to discuss and talk all things disability.
We currently meet once a month (virtually at present), and we discuss a range of things that have been brought to our attention.
As joint Chair I also attend a range of meetings with various teams as a representatives of the network and as a disabled person. By attending, I hope it helps others be better informed when it comes to disability related topics e.g. accessibility, reasonable adjustments, inclusion and awareness.
How does King's Able benefit King's patients?
While King's Able is a staff network, by raising awareness of disabilities and connecting staff to each other, we can share experiences, best practice and also educate. This will help staff have a better insight into the potential needs and support disabled patients may require when they come to King's.
Finally, what can we all do to help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion at King's?
For me, it is about communication and respect. Every person is different, and we all have different needs.
As a disabled person, it is my job to communicate my disability so others have a level of understanding, but equally others need to have the time to listen and communicate with me on how best to support, include and engage.
Acknowledging and respecting people are different, and that their needs may be different to yours is important. We should not judge and assume, but respect the value others bring as individuals. When everyone communicates with each other and respects each other, we have a very diverse, inclusive and supportive community.