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Disability and Work Advice

Posted By Alan Hakim, February 4, 2014

“In Draft – this document is currently under Information Standard review.  If you have any questions, please contact our Information Standard Coordinator –”

Target Audience: Anyone who might benefit from some support to get into or stay in work, or considering starting up a business.

The government, inland revenue, and NHS website pages that you can look at by clicking the links below provide a lot of helpful information to get started whether :

Looking for a job

Worried about your job or unfair treatment

Or seeking financial support


This can all feel very daunting. HMSA members might consider seeking advice from a number of sources including financial advisors and, if in a grievance, employment solicitors. However there are other other avenues. The remainder of this article introduces the reader to Action on Disability and Work UK and the Disabled Entrepreneurs’ Network. 

One of HMSA’s members, who is also a disabled entrepreneur, Kath Sutherland, is the Advice Service Consultant for Action on Disability and Work UK.  Kath has over 20 years experience of providing support to disabled people who wish to remain in paid work.


Action on Disability and Work UK (ADWUK) is a service designed to provide advice on work-related issues to disabled people, employers and professionals in the field of disability and work.  Action on Disability and Work UK has been created from the merger of the Association of Disabled Professionals (ADP) and the work services programme already provided by the former Vassall Centre Trust (VCT).

The ADP was established in 1971 in order to provide support to disabled people in professional and managerial positions and to provide a forum for disabled people to share both their problems and their successes as well as to help create conditions for other disabled people to realise their full potential.  They have also provided support to disabled people setting up, or in business, since 2001, through the Disabled Entrepreneurs’ Network.

The VCT was formed in 1998 to develop and demonstrate a barrier-free workplace. The new organisation – Action on Disability and Work UK – continues to promote and champion the working lives of disabled people.

Action on Disability and Work UK is able to use the experience of the ADP and the valuable resource that exists amongst former ADP members. This includes disabled members who have succeeded in a wide variety of professions including medicine, engineering, law, the church, the Civil Service, politics, commerce, education, the arts and health and social services.  Disabled members can offer specialist advice and support based on their professional knowledge and lived experience.

Action on Disability and Work UK Advice Service:

What They Do

  • Provide a professional advice service for disabled people, employers and organisations to give information and support on all work-related issues that disabled people face;
  • Work to support all disabled people, whether they are seeking work, are in work or are self-employed;
  • Provide appropriate advice across the full diversity of work-roles including unskilled; skilled, administrative, managerial, professional and technical;
  • Support disabled people to find, retain and progress in work opportunities commensurate with their abilities and qualifications;
  • Provide specialist advice on applying for and managing Access to Work funded support;
  • Encourage peer support amongst disabled people and promote the sharing of experiences and problem solving;
  • Improve the knowledge of employers, professional bodies and the public on the capabilities and needs of disabled people in relation to work and vocational education and training.

Services include the provision of advice, information and peer support on employment and self-employment.  They have a 24-hour answerphone service and an e-mail advice service.  Their advisors are disabled people.   This is very important as disabled people can particularly benefit from the lived work experiences of other disabled people when discussing issues relating to employment, self-employment, training and related matters.

They aim to be an accessible advice service that will provide information in the formats that a disabled person requests.

The typical types of enquiries from disabled people include the provision of personal support; guidance on effective job hunting; advice on the barriers or difficulties encountered whilst at work or in training, and information about approaching statutory bodies (e.g. Access to Work) and employers when difficulties arise.  If unable to give an immediate answer, an advisor will research the topic and supply information regarding organisations that can provide the advice and information needed.

Both the ADP and VCT have also worked for many years to influence the Government to ensure that legislation takes full account of the needs of disabled people and ensures equality of opportunity.   Action on Disability and Work UK will continue this work.

More information about ADWUK is available at:

Disabled Entrepreneurs’ Network

In 2001, ADP established the Disabled Entrepreneurs’ Network (DEN) to provide networking opportunities, work-related mentoring and information services for self-employed disabled people and those setting up and running their own small businesses.

DEN acts as a signpost service for accessible and appropriate training and development to disabled entrepreneurs and assists in looking at strategic issues around disability, small business management and self-employment.  DEN has established links with the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, the Small Business Service, and many others.

DEN is now also part of Action on Disability and Work UK.  As with the Advice Service, the information and support is provided by disabled people for disabled people.

More information about DEN can be found at:

Other Contact Details

For more information about becoming a member or more details about any of the information on this page, please contact Action on Disability and Work UK by email at or alternatively, by telephone on 0844 445 7123 (Answerphone/ringback service)

Written 4th February 2014. Dr A Hakim. HMSA Office. Update review February 2016

 Any advice provided or outcomes thereof are solely the responsibility of Action on Disability and Work UK, or Disabled Entrepreneurs Network, and not in any respect that of the HMSA. Action on Disability and Work UK are official sponsors of the HMSA’s Patient Conference and Residential Weekend July 2014.

The information provided by the HMSA should not take the place of advice and guidance from your own health-care providers. Material in this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes in your treatment plan. Articles were last reviewed by our Medical Advisors as being correct and up to date on 5th June 2004.

Please be aware that information posted on the discussion boards is the opinion of the authors and has not necessarily been approved or endorsed by the medical advisors.
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