Council leader backs campaign on terminal illness at work

From left, Councillor Barry Lewis, Jacci Woodcock, and Pauline Latham MP.
From left, Councillor Barry Lewis, Jacci Woodcock, and Pauline Latham MP.

Derbyshire County Council’s leader has voiced support for a Milford woman’s campaign to improve working rights for people with terminal illness.

Councillor Barry Lewis met with Jacci Woodcock earlier this month to confirm the council’s intention to sign the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Dying to Work Charter.

Jacci is the founder and patron of the charter, and for the last two years she has been campaigning for a change in the law to protect employees with a terminal diagnosis.

She said: “Councillor Lewis is positive that all council employees are of great value, and deserve respect and support at a distressing time of receiving a terminal diagnosis.

“I am campaigning to ensure all workers are given the dignity and choice of retaining the stimulation, normality and stability of work for as long as they choose.”

She added: “A huge thank you to Councillor Lewis for his empathetic understanding, his support and his time.”

Jacci’s campaign began after she claims she was forced out of her job when diagnosed with incurable breast cancer.

The charter commits employers to offering support and understanding, and to giving employees the security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families.

Coun Lewis said: “We recognise the importance of looking after our employees if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness and do all we can to relieve stress they may have over their job, whether they choose to carry on working or not.

“The county council is pleased to add its voice and ensure that its employees are protected and supported.”

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham also attended the meeting at County Hall to talk about the progress of the campaign, having raised the issue in Parliament last year.

She said: “I’m delighted the council has responded to the campaign. Now I would like more employers to sign up.”

“I am also pleased that work and pensions minister Penny Mordaunt will look at Jacci’s recommendations for the Government’s health and work road map later this year.”