CEO Diane Lightfoot on Sky News on retaining stroke survivors in the UK workforce

12 August 2019

In response to Stroke Association's research released today (Monday 12 August), Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, appeared on Sky News this morning.

The research from Stroke Association showed the following:

  • 15 per cent stroke survivors experienced discrimination at work following their stroke.
  • 1 in 10 said their employer was not supportive.
  • 37 per had to give up work
  • 9 per cent missed out on promotion or were made redundant after their stroke.

Speaking to Sky News, Diane Lightfoot said:

“Stroke is by its very nature something that happens very suddenly and thus is not something which the employee or employer can plan for.  And, when the employee returns to work, they may still not know whether they will make a full or a partial recovery and need to adjust to a “new normal” as well as coming to terms with the potential grief around a different identity. This can be exacerbated by the fact that most company sickness policies will not cover the length of time for a full recovery and so a person who has experienced Stroke may typically return to work before they are really physically or mentally ready to do so. It’s really important that employers are patient and do not prejudge someone’s ability to return to work but to work with them supportively, offering a phased return and potentially reduced hours and/or duties when someone comes back to work after Stroke. Employers also need to understand that employees will experience post-Stroke fatigue which is not “just tiredness” and need to be offered time to rest.  Stroke survivors will typically need to attend lots of follow up medical appointments and offering paid time off to cover these can play a huge role in reducing anxiety around finances. Ultimately, it’s about not losing talent but treating people as individuals and doing what’s needed to enable them to come back to work after a life-changing event.”

Read our blog on supporting employees returning to work after a stroke