Disabled Southsea woman's anger at blue badge application

A SENIOR politician has given her backing to a disabled woman's fight to make getting blue badges an easier process.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:38 am
Susan Petrie, 70, speaking from her Southsea home Picture: Malcolm Wells

Sue Petrie, of Southsea, has been buoyed after Portsmouth City Council’s new transport boss said she would ‘put pressure on Westminster’ over the ‘lengthy’ process to get a disabled parking permit.

The 70-year-old was called for assessment by the council after her application for a disabled parking permit was dismissed by the authority as not having enough evidence, despite providing pages of medical proof.

Sue suffers from a number of conditions including ME and spondylolisthesis, which causes the spine to crumble.

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She said: ‘I’ve been told that I will have to walk up some stairs for my assessment which will be very painful. All the evidence was already given to them in the form.

‘If the applicant hasn’t got a lot of evidence then I understand the need for assessment.

‘But I have all the medical evidence and just a quick phone call to the doctor would prove this.

‘It would save them time and money.

‘And how are severely disabled people who live alone meant to get to the centre for assessment?’

Similarly, Hilsea resident Jan Sissons was twice deterred from applying for a blue badge. The 63-year-old who has COPD and arthritis last attempted to fill out the online form 10 weeks ago. ‘Each time I have admitted defeat. The form is fixated on mobility of the legs,’ she said.

‘I can have days when I’m fine but other days I can’t even take a shower.

‘Invisible illnesses don’t seem to be taken into consideration on the form.

‘It is so very complicated and not user friendly at all. I think it’s purposely designed to make it difficult for people to apply.’

But now Cllr Lynne Stagg, the new transport cabinet member at the city council, has said she has been in talks about changing the system.

She said: ‘It is a reasonably lengthy process to apply for a badge, depending on the individual. The process does need to be sped up. I will be putting pressure on Westminster about this.’

She added: ‘The decision on this is out of the council’s hands but as a result of the consultation and meeting we had on Thursday I will be writing to our MPs Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt as well as the Department for Transport.

‘This isn’t just a problem here, it’s national.

After The News told Sue of Cllr Stagg’s support, she added: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Cllr Stagg is following this up.

‘I am really impressed. It might be too late for me but hopefully it will help other people in the future.’

AROUND 7,000 people in Portsmouth currently use blue badges.

There are two ways to be approved for a blue badge, either automatically or after assessment by occupational therapists.
Automatic qualification happens depending on the category of disabled living allowance claimed, being registered blind or scoring at least eight points on a mobility assessment.

Kevin McKee, parking manager, at Portsmouth City Council explained how the system worked.

He said: ‘Since April 2012, legislation surrounding the issuing of blue badges states that those requiring further assessment must have their eligibility confirmed by an independent mobility assessor.’