Inaccessible health care penalises disabled people

Did you know? Inaccessible health care probably causes long-term health problems for some disabled people. Cross Country Trains abdicate responsibility for disabled passenger.

I talked about the Chief Medical Officer’s report a couple of weeks ago and how blind people are “more likely to have other long-term health conditions”. I think a key aspect of this is how difficult and expensive it can be for us to participate in health care. I moaned on about one hospital since and here’s another example:
This week I had one of those routine mammograms – the one where they squeeze your boobs in some clunking machine (one wonders as to the gender of the inventor!). The clinical staff were excellent, professional and quick. But the surrounding processes just didn’t work. So, even though they know to send me the results by e-mail, the system can’t manage to do the same with the appointment details.
Lots of people can pop in to the mobile units when it is in their vicinity – but not some of us with impairments. Instead we have to trek off to the local hospital which is a £35 round trip by taxi or probably at least 5 hours by patient transport. But for those who can’t afford to use taxis or can’t take all that time off work, its no surprise that they wouldn’t manage to have the scan.
And even having checked that there would be someone available to escort me from reception to the appointment and arrived early, it would have been so useful to have known beforehand that it usually takes 20 minutes for that escort to arrive. Hence, late for appointment and one’s slot has been taken while the taxi meter ticks away!
The only advantage is that, if you have a disabled parking card, you get 24 hours parking compared with just the one hour that everyone else gets. Perhaps this reflects their assessment of how long it will take us to get our health care compared with others? I know, that’s rather churlish!
Once again, it’s not the medical and clinical care that falls short. It’s the management of the surrounding processes that just haven’t been thought through meaning that people don’t take part and their health suffers.

Disability Floristry Art

Disability Floristry Art

Bouquets of the week.
Two this time: To all the representatives of the Help to Work partners – organisations that help people get back to work. We ran a frantic and whirlwind “speed-dating” morning so that we could all learn what each other offers. Getting the rotation right so that everyone meets everyone else is trickier than you would think – and is utterly scuppered when some show up unexpectedly, split their groups and move in different directions! It was a bit like herding cats but thank goodness that so much enthusiasm, good will and flexibility meant that we all muddled through and got loads from it all. Huge thanks to everyone who came.
To the train staff who did their very best to help all of us passengers when our train was involved in a fatal incident later the same day. My heart goes out to the driver now coping with the enquiry after we hit someone on the track between Coventry and Leamington Spa – and to the family and friends of the person who was killed. We were all very subdued while waiting hours until the British Transport Police arrived to take charge and our train could move to the next station. Having decamped to the platform, two harried staff tried to manage the invasion. I declined their kind offer of a taxi taking me home from Leamington Spa – the next train was going to be quicker. Then a taxi from Winchester was organised but, when we got there, Cross Country Trains reneged on the offer. So, minutes later, I was at Southampton Parkway with no taxi home organised. Cross Country Trains wanted me to go even further by train, make yet another change and make the journey probably another hour longer! As it was, I still didn’t get home until over 9 hours after leaving Bolsover. My thanks to Leila of the train team who explained the loo to me – cleaner than I’d expected – but she now has to retire as she can’t manage to push the heavy refreshment trolley any more! They’ve lost a great member of staff.

Yours wearily,

Penny Melville-Brown

Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk

Helping disabled people to work since 2000

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