Merseyside Police becomes the first force to join the endometriosis friendly employer scheme
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Merseyside Police has become the first force in the country to join the Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme.
Endometriosis affects one in 10 girls and women from puberty to menopause which equates to more than 1.5 million women in the UK, mostly of working age, who can be seriously debilitated by the condition.
The Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme has been set up by Endometriosis UK to enable employers to improve support for those suffering with this chronic, long-term condition and, where possible, offer work adjustments to allow them to work more flexibly.
Temporary Chief Inspector Lisa Ledder, aged 36, was diagnosed with Endometriosis eight years ago and has been instrumental in the force signing up to the scheme.
She said: “I had no idea what it was when I received the diagnosis and have continually found it difficult over the years to explain to people what the condition is.
“My specific journey has not been plain sailing. Since diagnosis I have had to endure numerous hours in hospital undergoing tests and surgeries.
“My condition affects my ability to do even the most basic things on a daily basis, with each day being different from the last.
“The hardest part is knowing that there is currently no cure for the condition and each route I take in order to alleviate my symptoms is simply trial and error.”
T/Chief Insp Ledder has used www.endometriosis.co.uk for guidance and support and is now a workplace champion for the Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme, which means anyone needing advice or support can contact her for information.
She will be working with Endometriosis UK to agree and implement supervisor training and will also continue to train staff and raise awareness via the force’s Merseyside Parity 21 network, which aims to promote gender equality in 21st century policing, as well as other training methods.
T/Chief Insp Ledder added: “Signing up to the scheme is a continuous commitment by Merseyside Police to provide advice and guidance to staff and supervisors alike.
“It means that we can educate our supervisors to ensure they have the required knowledge and understanding of the condition to be able to successfully manage staff who suffer from it.
“I have worked tirelessly over the years to improve the health and wellbeing agenda of our organisation so that all people with disabilities, visible or otherwise, feel like they can come to work and be happy and productive.
“My main aim is to ensure that those who suffer from Endometriosis still see the police as a career they can have and that their diagnosis will not prevent them for being what they want to be, whilst ensuring that those in a position to support, do so with confidence and understanding.”
On average, it takes eight years to get a diagnosis of Endometriosis and costs £8.2 billion each year in lost work, treatment and healthcare costs.
T/ACC Natalie Perischine added: “We recognise that Endometriosis can be incapacitating and by joining this scheme we wanted to help our officers and staff who are suffering from this condition.
“The wellbeing of our officers and staff is of paramount importance to us. We are keen to show our support to anyone suffering from this disease by providing them with an environment where they feel at ease talking about practical adjustments we can help them with that will make their time at work more comfortable.
“We have also recently launched a Wellbeing Passport to help our employees with health conditions, care commitments or religious observances that need some temporary adjustments to their work environment and may not want to have a face to face conversation about it every time they have a new line manager.
“By forging an understanding and flexible working environment we hope we can create a happier and healthier workforce.”
Endometriosis UK is hopeful that other forces will follow in Merseyside Police’s footsteps and offer the scheme to their employers.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Merseyside Police who have become the first UK Police force to sign up to become an Endometriosis Friendly Employer.
"Far too often, women’s health issues like Endometriosis get brushed under the carpet by employers, and it’s incredible to see Merseyside Police lead the way for the rest of the Police forces across the UK in tackling women’s health and Endometriosis and committing to supporting those with the condition in the workplace.
"We look forward to working with Merseyside Police and ensuring that those with Endometriosis get the support they need to thrive in the workplace.
"By raising awareness of Endometriosis, we hope to encourage other UK forces to follow Merseyside Police’s lead and sign up to the scheme.”