Building a culture of inclusion

Nov 23, 2023

Mid North Coast Local Health District is raising awareness, understanding and acceptance of disability in our community.

Every year, on 3 December, people around the world take part in the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). Locally, in the days leading up to IDPwD there will be information stalls at our hospitals.

There are 2.1 million Australians of working age with disabilities. However, less than half are employed (47.8 per cent), compared with 80.3 per cent of people without disabilities.

The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that nearly half (45.2 per cent) of all employed people with disabilities report they had experienced unfair treatment or discrimination in their workplace in the past 12 months. Many people with disability say they feel more disabled by their environment than by their disability. 

Creating a culture of inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. By ensuring our workforce is as diverse as the communities we serve, we provide better healthcare and services, grow our talent pool, and create a more welcoming environment for our consumers.

Research also shows that inclusive workplaces have lower rates of absenteeism and turnover and lower workplace risk. It’s clear that having an inclusive workplace culture benefits everyone!  

As part of the Enhancing Inclusion in the Health System project and the Building an Inclusive Healthcare Workforce for the Mid North Coast (MNC) project, the Disability Healthcare team will be setting up information stalls around MNC hospitals in support of IDPwD between 27 November and 1 December. Staff can come along and meet the team, learn more about disability inclusion, participate in some fun activities, and grab some cool merchandise!

Other things you can do to help contribute to a more inclusive culture across MNCLHD are:

  • Person-first: If you know a colleague has a disability, get to know the person and focus on their abilities and the things they can do first.
  • Learn: Complete any disability inclusion awareness training on offer in your workplace such as our upcoming in-person workshops, and disability inclusion modules available on My Health Learning. This will help you learn about disability types, etiquette, inclusive language and terminology, and common myths and misconceptions.
  • Ask: A person with a disability is the expert on their life, so don’t be worried about asking them how best you can support or include them.
  • Understand: Creating equitable opportunities and environments for people with disability is about providing the right tools and settings so everyone can excel. Equality means giving everyone the same resources or opportunities, whereas equity goes the extra step to recognise that every individual and circumstance is unique. Workplace adjustments are a great tool to help create an equitable environment. These adjustments involve changes to work processes, practices or environments that enable a person with disability to perform at their best. Common workplace adjustments are adjustable work equipment, quiet rooms, flexible work arrangements, assistive technology and computer programs, interpreter services, or the use of visual cues.

If you would like to learn more about IDPwD or ways in which you can contribute towards a more inclusive culture, please come along to an information stall in your location!

Dates and hospital locations:
  • Port Macquarie and Wauchope 27 November
  • Bellingen and Dorrigo 28 November
  • Coffs Harbour Health Campus 29 November
  • Kempsey 30 November
  • Macksville 1 December
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