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Catalogue Details


Lloyd Balatongan - The Difference: Filipino Healthcare System and the NHS

Thursday 7th July

Leaving Philippines in 2009, I have now called UK my home. But then my life nearly came to a halt when I had terrible stomach pain one evening in which I had to call 999 and was eventually admitted at an NHS hospital in Surrey, where I worked. In the space of 48-hours, I was diagnosed and operated and discharged, which is a far-cry from what I experienced back in Philippines, as a patient and as a nurse. 


Jennifer Dsane - The Difference: The Ghana Healthcare System and the NHS

Wednesday 6th July

Leaving Ghana in 2000 to Holland to the UK which is now my permanent home. While pregnant with my daughter my life nearly came to an end when I had her prematurely. We had to stay in King's College Hospital London for 5 days, and my daughter was in a neonatal unit for one month, which is a far cry from what I experienced back in Ghana as a patient.


Sharon Extance - Disability in the Workplace

Wednesday 6th July

My name is Sharon and I work at UHDB as an Improvement Support Officer, I provide senior admin support to the Improvement Team at UHDB. I have only held this position for a short time as I was redeployed from a clinical role. I have worked in a mainly clinical role for thirty-five years in the NHS

Although very different I do enjoy my work with the Improvement Team.


Another hat I have volunteered to wear is the Lead for the ThisAbility and Long-Term Conditions Staff Support Network, we were one of the first networks at UHDB and started with nine members but now have over one hundred colleagues as members. Our vision is to support staff with a Disability or long-Term Condition who face adversity and discrimination because they are Disabled and may need some adjustments to help them achieve their potential at work.

Pick me as a book and I can tell you my story and chat about what we are doing to overcome the adversity in the workplace for our Disabled colleagues.


Lesley Hayes-  Tonic Clonic Epilepsy

Wednesday 6th July

Lesley was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 13, while going through puberty and after being hit on the head with a hockey ball. She has Tonic Clonic epilepsy (previously called grand mal) which results in becoming unconscious, body stiffness with risk of falling, jerking and shaking, frothing of the mouth, no control of relieving bodily fluids, tongue biting, making noises and being left with severe headaches and tiredness. Epilepsy has also brought additional challenges for Lesley during pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause.

Lesley has fought to get treatment to manage her condition successfully. At times, employers have been unwilling to make the reasonable adjustments needed to enable her to manage her condition.  

Lesley’s experiences have made her passionate about ensuring colleagues receive fair and equitable treatment without discrimination, and that Bullying and Harassment is addressed, as outlined in the Equality Act 2010. We need to raise awareness of hidden disabilities. Our people are our greatest asset and every voice matters


Emmie Henderson (they/them/theirs) - Neurodiversity and Gender

Thursday 7th July

The lived experience I will be talking about is around my experiences of Neurodiversity and Gender. I am non-binary, and have both autism and ADHD, which I feel have contributed significantly to my understanding, experience & relationship around Gender.


Sarah Martin -  Fibromyalgia

Wednesday 6th July

According to fibromyalgia-association uk ‘Fibromyalgia is an illness more common than rheumatoid arthritis and can even be more painful. It is a chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue’.


I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2015 after years of going back and forth to my GP with pain, fatigue, and a myriad of other distressing symptoms. I found the diagnosis challenging and daunting. I questioned what my life would look like in the future, managing a long-term condition with no cure. I also faced questions about my career, I had qualified as a nurse in 2012 and wondered what the future held as I was struggling to stay in work fulltime. I have gone on to find new ways of managing my life and progressing in my career and wish to share that journey with anyone who has an interest in learning more about living, working, and progressing a career whilst managing a long-term condition.


Trevor Parkerson - Age Discrimination

Wednesday 6th July

Age discrimination can be can be experienced by all age groups. Direct age discrimination can be experienced by older people when seeking employment. Despite having years of relevant experience older people are often overlooked in the employment market.  


It is quite normal for older people to have several medical conditions, e.g. high blood pressure, osteoporosis, joint pain, but with the correct medication they can be very productive and make a valuable contribution. 


I am a 75 year old Anglican priest employed by the Trust as a Chaplain and I live with a number of medical conditions that could be limiting but managed correctly are okay. I am happy to offer some insights into how I manage the challenges posed by growing older. 


Dawn Reid - Autism

Wednesday 6th July

Imagine living a life always knowing you were unique, passionate, hyper focused – on special interests and sometimes some may say a little outspoken (but should we not be passionate about justice and what we believe in?)  .  Witnessing your daughter's presentation is different from home to School, yet being constantly told ‘she is fine’.  Then your child is diagnosed Autistic at age 10.  After you have dedicated the last few years of your life to daily research, advocating, understanding, acceptance, trusting your gut and private assessments due to misunderstanding of how Autism presents in a girl and you have the lightbulb moment and feel strong enough to Self-Identify as Autistic.

My life suddenly makes sense.


Jemma Walker - Carers in Work

Thursday 7th July

Working and caring for a son with severe disabilities can be a challenge.

I hope to offer some insight into problems and joys of being a working carer at UHDB. Juggling the life home balance and the struggles I have every day of our social care system and fighting for the right to work.


Lucy Weaving - Perimenopause and Menopause

Thursday 7th July

The impact of perimenopause and menopause is unfortunately misunderstood. The focus has seemed to be on menopause – when menstruation ceases rather than the perimenopause which is the period leading up to menstruation ending, when hormones fluctuate massively and can cause debilitating symptoms for many women.


Over 70% of women experience symptoms during the perimenopause and menopause that can impact their quality of life and up to 30% of women experience severe symptoms. One survey found that 1 in 4 women consider leaving work due to menopausal symptoms. These statistics may be an underrepresentation as there is still a lot of stigma around talking about menopause. Women’s hormonal health needs to be prioritised and the impact of perimenopause recognised so women can get the support they need.


Lucy is a 43 year old woman and one of the 30% of women who experienced debilitating perimenopause symptoms, feeling the worst she had ever felt in her life.


Lucy experienced sleep difficulties, night sweats, panic attacks, overwhelm, anxiety, irrational thoughts, very irregular bleeding, loss of libido, rage, low mood, memory difficulties, increased abdominal fat and weight gain and no longer felt like herself. Going from being a happy go lucky, positive, happy being busy, patient person to a shadow of her former self. Unfortunately, it was a long journey getting the treatment she needed – treatment that gave her her life back – and a journey she is still on.


Misdiagnosis, lengthy waits for diagnosis and treatment, being dismissed, ridiculed and misunderstood are common experiences for women going through the perimenopause.


Lucy hopes to offer some insight and information about how she managed to overcome the barriers to getting support with the perimenopause and things she has found helpful.

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