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To disclose or not to disclose? Benchmarking disclosure of a SpLD in physiotherapy education and the NHS workplace.

Goodwin, PC and Rooney, J and Yeowell, G (2016) To disclose or not to disclose? Benchmarking disclosure of a SpLD in physiotherapy education and the NHS workplace. In: ER-WCPT, 11 November 2016 - 12 November 2016, Liverpool. (In Press)

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Abstract

Relevance: Firstly, w e report the incidence of disclosure of a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) by physiotherapy students in a Higher Education Institute (HEI), making it relevant to the congress theme, Education. Secondly, w e compare this to reports of disclosure in the NHS w orkplace, challenging managers to address the apparent discrepancy. This makes it relevant to the congress theme, Policy, Strategy and Influencing (in the w orkplace). Purpose: 1) To design an evidence-based data retrieval procedure from HEI databases to accurately report students disclosing a SpLD; 2) To identify characteristics of students w ho have disclosed a SpLD on an NHS commissioned physiotherapy programme and compare to NHS employer Equality and Diversity annual reports. Approach/Evaluation: This w as Phase 1 of a 3-phase evaluation. In order to extract data relevant to the reporting of SpLD, a literature search w as carried out to identify relevant factors. A repeatable procedure w as then designed to allow HEIs to retrieve and compare the data. We benchmarked three physiotherapy cohorts at a UK HEI and compared them to: 1) overall student data at the HEI; 2) the percentage of staff w ho disclosed a disability in the NHS. Outcomes: Students w ith a SpLD access higher education via both traditional and non-traditional routes. The most frequently disclosed SpLD w as dyslexia. On average, more physiotherapy students (11%) disclosed a SpLD than students in the university as a w hole (7%) or compared to NHS staff (3.5%). A smaller percentage of students w ith a SPLD did not proceed through the programme compared to those w ithout a SpLD. Students w ho disclosed their SpLD and in receipt of a Personal Learning Plan (PLP) generally achieved a better degree classification than those w ho disclosed but w ere not in receipt of a PLP. No students w ith a PLPobtained a Third Class Honours degree over the three cohorts studied. Discussion and conclusions: We have produced an evidence-based, repeatable data retrieval procedure to allow comparison across HEIs. In Physiotherapy, there is a higher incidence of disclosure of a SpLD compared to the general student body and in the NHS w orkplace. Phase 2 explored reasons for disclosure or non-disclosure w hilst as a student in University, on placement and in the w orkplace. Impact and Implications: By reporting the incidence of disclosure of a SpLD by physiotherapy students in higher education, and comparing this to reports of disclosure in the NHS w orkplace, w e challenge managers to address this apparent discrepancy. We anticipate this w ill improve support mechanisms for the employee and also facilitate the transition of physiotherapists w ith SpLD, from student to employee and back again. Funding Acknowledgement: Health Education Northw est (HENW)

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