Ambulance service pledges enhanced support for people with hidden disabilities

16 April 2024

Yorkshire Ambulance Staff wearing Sunflower lanyards to raise awareness of hidden disabilities

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network to better support its staff, volunteers and patients who have an invisible disability.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower symbol indicates to people that the wearer may need additional support, help or a little more time.

By becoming a member of the initiative, Yorkshire Ambulance Service is committed to:

  • ensuring that its staff and volunteers with a non-visible disability are, and feel supported and can access the help they need
  • providing our staff and volunteers with training to enable them to better support colleagues and patients with invisible disabilities.

One in seven people lives with a disability and 80% of those are hidden. Non-visible disabilities are not immediately apparent. They can be physical, mental or neurological, for example autism, ADHD, anorexia, asthma, learning difficulties, dyslexia, endometriosis, hearing loss, diabetes, chronic pain, long COVID, cancer and coeliac disease. There are currently 910 non-visible health conditions listed on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower website. Many people experience a combination of visible and invisible disabilities.

Peter Reading, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “I am thrilled that Yorkshire Ambulance Service has joined the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network. Our membership is another vital step in enhancing our status as an inclusive organisation.”

Paul White, Chief Executive Officer at Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, said: “Yorkshire Ambulance Service provides a vital service to people in need. At times of fear, worry, pain and confusion, the Sunflower acts as a tool to communicate that the wearer has an invisible disability – giving silent communication to the ambulance teams to allow extra time, understanding and patience. Joining the Sunflower network also signals to staff who have non-visible disabilities that they will be supported at work.”

Find out more about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower on their website.

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department