The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) has been commissioned by the NHS Equality and Diversity Council (EDC), and is mandated by the NHS Standard Contract. This restricts the WDES to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts for the first two years of implementation (2019/20 and 2020/21). The WDES is voluntary for CCGs and ALBs.
The WDES is important, because research shows that a motivated, included and valued workforce helps to deliver high quality patient care, increased patient satisfaction and improved patient safety.
The WDES is a set of ten specific measures (metrics) that will enable NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts to compare the career and workplace experiences of Disabled and non-disabled staff. This information will then be used by the organisations to develop local action plans, enabling them to demonstrate year on year progress against the indicators of disability equality.
The implementation of the WDES will support positive change for existing employees and enable a more inclusive environment for Disabled people currently working – as well as those wishing to pursue careers – in the NHS.