A Merseyside NHS trust is the first in the country to sign a charter supporting employees who become terminally ill at work.
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is also the first employer in the North West to support the TUC Dying to Work campaign.
The voluntary charter has already been signed by a number of other organisations including the energy company E-ON.
Interim Chief Executive Iain McInnes joined Staff Side lead John Flannery from Unison and North West TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins for the signing at Southport hospital.
Mr McInnes said: “The Trust recognises that staff members with terminal illnesses need support and understanding, especially when it comes to removing or reducing any stress and worry about their job. We are delighted to support this initiative.”
Mr Flannery added: “In my experience the Trust has always been extremely supportive of staff who have been diagnosed with terminal illness. The decision to commit to the TUC charter was an easy one as it is the right thing to do. Nobody should be forced to leave employment due to terminal illness and they should be afforded the right to choose their own path at the end of their life.”
Lynn Collins, North West TUC Regional Secretary, said: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis. Signing the Charter has provided peace of mind to 3,500 workers at the Trust – who are to be commended for signing.”
Dying to Work was set up by the TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. In the absence of legislative protection, the TUC is asking employers to sign up to its voluntary charter to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.