Andy Bundy, from the
Havant Area Disability Access Group, praises Queen Alexandra Hospital’s reponse to disabled access
I’ve had a busy week, complete with assessments for a new powered-wheelchair to replace my current set of wheels which, at nearly six years old, is starting to struggle.
I also received, after a slightly shorter period, my new Motability vehicle.
The week’s highlight, though, was being invited to consult on plans to modify the alternate (non-rotating) doors at the southern main reception at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Shocking, because as a disabled person I was treated as a professional, and I’d not even complained about the doors!
Eighteen months ago, I decided to be the first, and to that point, only person to complain about how badly disabled visitors and patients are treated even before they enter the hospital, ranging from long distances, poor signage and other concerns.
To my surprise, the Trust commissioned an independent professional survey, which uncovered a considerable number of breaches, both against building regulations and against the wider BS8300 standard which is the gold standard on accessibility.
I was most pleased to join a forum of user group reps earlier this year which met to prioritise which, of 10 high-level groups of problems found, should be fixed first.
For those who attended, now you know for sure the identity of the ‘one complainant’!
This is a major leap forwards, at least on a larger scale, because the NHS, and major hospitals, have a somewhat mixed track record in treating disabled people, something I discovered only this March.
To be invited to consult, and be treated as a peer, not a patient, is a huge leap forwards.
It is one thing being a professional trained architect, but nothing beats experience.
In local government, our group is starting to see slow improvement, though we hope for an acceleration because there are rules on consultation of disability groups on the books already for a number of requirements.
I’m in a good mood, thus I’d love to commend QA’s John A’Court and Nicola Harman, as well as the patient experience team and especially the complaints department – “I do love you really…” and in Havant, both the traffic team, and now the planning team.
As always, if you live in the Havant Borough, and have questions or comments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 07518 008 091.