This week has been a nightmare. And not just because of all the rain.
At the start of the week, my wife had to go to a medical centre. In order to get to the entrance, you either have to go up 9 steps or via a long, yet quite steep ramp.
Neither of these options were of use to the disabled man we saw trying to get into the centre at the same time.
He only look in his 30s or 40s, yet he clearly had limited mobility and a limited ability to walk. He was being helped by (it later turned out in conversation) his wife.
He was unable to get up the steps or the ramp due to his disability.
Another person went inside to ask for assistance. However, there was nobody to help other than the receptionist. The person on reception was very helpful, but they could not help this poor chap, as they had no wheelchairs available to use.
It came out in conversation with the receptionist that the ones they had were old and damaged and were not going to be replaced due to budget decisions.
In the end, this poor man, who was clearly in pain, was forced to return to his car and had to miss his appointment.
This is an absolute disgrace, and unacceptable. Is this the kind of NHS we want – where the most in need are turned away and left in pain?
The entire site for the medical centre is a joke. The car park only has two usable disabled parking bays, with no immediate path. There is a huge step onto the path that leads to the steps and ramp. In between, there is a big bicycle rack that is mounted onto the wall, which juts out, taking up most of the path.
The latter makes it impossible for any person to use the wall to help walk and means there’s not enough room for a wheelchair on the path.
What is worse, this centre provides care for disabled and elderly people, and people with walking disabilities. This includes chiropody/podiatry. The irony would be funny if it wasn’t so sick.
Who on this planet designs these sites and buildings?
They clearly do not have a clue about the needs of disabled people.
For example, why have a disabled parking bay outside for dropping off, next to a kerb the size of Mount Everest? What use is that to a disabled person who has difficulty with walking or balance?
All too often, people equate ‘disabled access’ with ‘wheelchair’.
This is just simple ignorance.
‘Wheelchair access’ is one thing – and most definitely needed.
But ‘disabled access’ is something else, and covers a whole host of problems that people have to contend with daily.
So when David Cameron, Maria Miller et al claim there’s disabled access everywhere – we know the truth is far different.