Disabled Facilities: Do You Abuse Them? I Bet You Have! – Disabled facilities are there to help disabled people achieve the same daily tasks able-bodied people take for granted. By abusing these facilities, you are preventing us from living our daily life as you expect to live yours…..Without fighting for your basic human rights!!
Disabled Toilets: How Many Times Have You Used One?
My life as a wheelchair user is difficult enough with the barriers I face on a daily basis. Shops I’m unable to enter due to lack of access, card readers too high/too far back to reach when paying for my shopping, people leaning on my wheelchair like I’m some sort of leaning post, derogatory comments etc, the list truly is endless.
So when I need to use the toilet and an able-bodied person walks out of the disabled toilet, I’m angry, why? Well, one of the reasons is I suffer from IBS, it is one of the most unpredictable illnesses I suffer from. The urgency one feels when having an attack is frightening, so when you are made to wait for probably the only disabled toilet available and a non-disabled person walk out, why wouldn’t I be furious.
I have been close more times than I care to mention to having an “accident” because someone’s selfishness has made me wait for a disabled toilet unnecessarily. Who wants that? I certainly don’t, especially when it could have been avoided!
Changing places toilets
Changing places toilets are important to many disabled people as they have a changing table for those that need assistance going to the toilet. This is obviously much more preferable than having to lie down on dirty, wet, urine-stained flooring, which is what has to happen if a changing places toilet is not available or present. You really would be disgusted and angry if it was your child or family member who had to lie on this kind of filthy flooring.
Most standard Men & Ladies toilets have more than one cubicle/urinal for use. To use and take away what is normally the only disabled toilet available is not only selfish but inconsiderate to those of us that have medical reasons for “needing” to use a toilet urgently.
Please in future, be more mindful of which toilet you use.
Disabled Parking Bays: You Will Only Be Two Minutes, So It’s OK!
I’m fed up the number of times I’ve been told, “I’ll only be a minute”, “I’m just popping to cash machine, I won’t be long”!! I don’t care how long you will be!!! IT IS ILLEGAL to park in a disabled parking bay without a blue badge. Currently, the average fine for parking illegally in an enforceable disabled person parking bay is £30 this can rise to a maximum of £1000. Personally, I don’t believe that’s much of a deterrent!!
Rule 241 of the Highway Code says:
You MUST NOT park in parking spaces reserved for specific users, such as Blue Badge holders, residents or motorcycles unless entitled to do so. Source: www.gov.uk – Highway Code
Parking in a disabled bay illegally can mean the difference between me completing my task, shopping, Dr’s/hospital appointment, attending a meeting or having to turn around and go back home again. There have been numerous occasions where I have had to go home without being able to do whatever it was I set out to do and that is the key here, not being able to do what I want/need to do!
Your selfishness and inconsideration have a detrimental effect on my daily life, you can not begin to understand the strain my body goes through when I have to get in/out of my wheelchair to get in/out of the car. Not once but 4 times just to do one trip!! It can take up to 2 days for my body to recover, so no, I am not tolerant of your behaviour……Why should I be!!
I wonder how tolerant you would be about these inconsiderate actions if I were the one telling you that “I will only be a minute, just popping to the cash machine”, or “I’m just dropping this letter off”? If this was a daily occurrence in your life, how accepting would you be?
Wheelchair Space on Buses: You Didn’t Fight For Them, Yet Happy to Prevent Those That Did From Using Them!
Well, where do I start with this one? Oh yes, disabled people fought and fought for these spaces, year after year, after year until finally, we succeeded. Then, along came buggy pushers and thought it quite acceptable to use these spaces when a wheelchair user needs it, you know, the ones we disabled people fought for! The space that has that lovely big blue sticker stating priority wheelchair area. Exactly!!!
Where were all the buggy pushers when we were fighting for this space? Hmmm? exactly! Yet now the hard work has been done and the wheelchair space is now implemented, you are happy to take advantage of the wheelchair space provided for wheelchair users!!
Now don’t get me wrong, I really have NO objection to buggy pushers using this space, IF ONLY YOU WOULD MOVE WHEN NEEDED BY A WHEELCHAIR USER!!!!! The problem is that quite a lot of you buggy pushers REFUSE blankly to move……The signage is very clear in it’s meaning!! You are more than welcome to use the wheelchair space if NOT NEEDED by a wheelchair user. If it is needed, you MUST MOVE. It really isn’t rocket science you know.
It really does infuriate me when this happens as we wheelchair users only have ONE place we can use on a bus, buggy pushers have other options available to them if they so wish. You are basically taking away our right to travel as able-bodied travellers would expect to travel.
Mr Paulley successfully sued FirstGroup at Leeds County Court for unlawful discrimination against him due to his disability. However, First Group appealed and the case was finally heard by the Supreme Court. On 18 January 2017, it made a landmark ruling that bus companies must end ‘first come, first served’ policies and do more to cater for wheelchair users. Read more: Equality and Human Right Commission
At the end of the day, like it or not, disabled people are not looking for “special treatment/services”, we just want to be able to live our lives as independently as possible and that does mean adjustments need to be made to standardised services.
Simple example. If your vision is not 20/20, what do you do? You visit an optician to get your eyesight tested, yes? If it turns out that you need glasses, you get them. So why should it be any different for someone who’s legs do not work to not be allowed to use an adapted toilet? How would you feel if you were told you couldn’t have/wear the glasses you “needed” to perform your daily tasks???? Think about that one!!
Disabled people are told daily, they can’t have this, can’t use that all because some of you are too selfish and self-important to even try to understand why we “need” these adaptions.
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Brain Fog: A Heart Attack Side Effect – Brain fog can be caused by many many different medical conditions, mine was due to my heart attack a couple of years ago. Brain fog is much more debilitating than most people realise. When brain fog strikes, a person can have trouble remembering things and processing information. They might also find it difficult to concentrate and pay attention, or that their thoughts are disorganised. This describes my brain fog down to a tee!
“Brain fog isn’t a medical condition itself, but rather a symptom of other medical conditions. It’s a type of cognitive dysfunction involving:
Lack of mental clarity
Inability to focus
Some people also describe it as mental fatigue. Depending on the severity of brain fog, it can interfere with work or school. But it doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture in your life”.
For me, brain fog affects me in many different ways. I have days where amazing words just fly out of my mouth, like today, when discussing this blog with hubby I was explaining how some days I can’t remember the name of the “item” pen, or simple everyday words and the next, I can come out with words like I’m some sort of professor! (Beleive it or not, I was going to use the words I used while talking with hubby but because I took a break for 5 mins, I’ve no recollection of what the word was, that I used)…..Extremely frustrating!
I think what frustrates me the most is when I get interrupted for whatever reason, and my train of thought is completely destroyed. I really do have to sit and seriously think as to what I was previously thinking of and try and get my thinking process back on track. (That’s why it seems to take me forever to get a blog finished), I live in a madhouse with two kids (albeit practically grown-up) a husband who thinks he’s a child and a 2-year old Beagle dog. When on earth do I get time to myself to just write?
What Are The Causes of Brain Fog?
Websites that talk of brain fog mention the following as causes for brain fog:
I know for me personally, lack of sleep is my worst nightmare (pardon the pun). If I haven’t got enough sleep, my brain fog is at an all-time high and this doubled with me being grumpy due to lack of sleep, is not a good combination. My family have come to realise the best thing to do is give me a wide berth.
There are days I wake up more tired than I was before going to bed. My head feels like it’s filled with cotton wool and trying to take in conversations or simple instructions can seem like I’m trying to learn quantum physics. I get so frustrated and even angry at myself on these days as I used to be so good at both of these and more.
Having a physical disability, words became my friend so to speak. Always a smart, funny answer to most things. I felt I was pretty good at tackling most things (written form). The flip side from this though is since my heart attack, my tolerance level for BS has become practically 0…..So, when I need to write important letters for whatever reason, I seem to be able to get straight to the point, no waffling as I used to do. Strange!
Stress and being a smoker is what caused the onset of my heart attack. I was fighting two companies at the time, one (my housing association re my through floor lift), the other, an insurance claim due to a relatives caravan catching fire. Not a great time!
Stress is a nasty entity and is very much underrated as the cause of a lot of medical issues. The trouble is, how do you combat stress? Unless you lock yourself away from the world, it is near impossible but that is for another blog (maybe).
How Is Brain Fog Diagnosed?
See your doctor if you have persistent lack of clarity that worsens or doesn’t improve. A single test can’t diagnose brain fog. Brain fog may signal an underlying issue, so your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about your:
Level of physical activity
Current medications or supplements
You should let your doctor know about other symptoms you might have. For example, someone with hypothyroidism may have brain fog along with hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, or brittle nails.
Blood work can help your doctor identify the cause of brain fog. A blood test can detect the following:
Abnormal glucose levels
Poor liver, kidney, and thyroid function
Based on the results, your doctor will determine whether to investigate further. Other diagnostic tools may include imaging tests to look inside the body, such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. The doctor may also conduct allergy testing or a sleep study to check for a sleep disorder.
Keeping a food journal can help you determine if your diet contributes to brain fog.
While in hospital recovering from my HA I was told I could now suffer from brain fog (as this is a side effect) and it may be permanent or it may not……That was it! No follow up or proper diagnosis.
I have been to my GP regarding my symptoms but I’m just made feel that I’m blowing it all out of proportion or it’s just all in my head. So I have given up now.
How To Treat It
Brain fog treatment depends on the cause.
For example, if you’re anaemic, iron supplements may increase your production of red blood cells and reduce your brain fog. If you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid or other medication to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system.
Sometimes, relieving brain fog is a matter of correcting a nutritional deficiency, switching medications, or improving the quality of your sleep.
Home remedies to improve brain fog include:
Sleeping 8 to 9 hours per night
Managing stress by knowing your limitations and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine
Strengthening your brainpower (try volunteering or solving brain puzzles)
Finding enjoyable activities
Increasing your intake of protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats
Hmmm, not sure I agree with a lot of these.
Sleeping 8 to 9 hours per night – I do, do this and still feel as tired as I did going to bed, some days more so.
Managing stress by knowing your limitations and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine – Seriously, how can one do this, life is full of stresses, especially someone with a disability. This gives a whole new level of stresses!
Exercising – Hmm, as a wheelchair user with weak arms, hands and legs, not an easy task by any means. Hubby got the Oculus Quest VR headset recently, I played Beat Saber for 3 songs and I couldn’t use my arms for 2 days after. Seriously, my arms felt lead weights and I couldn’t raise my arms to drink or eat. I have the same issue if I type for too long, my arms become tired and weak!
Strengthening your brainpower (try volunteering or solving brain puzzles) – I build websites, I blog, I volunteer, I play scrabble, chess and I’m learning how to do 3D modelling. I think I’m taxing my brain quite enough thanks. Does it help? I really don’t know, I would need to cease doing all of these for a few months to know for certain. Sorry, not prepared to do that.
Finding enjoyable activities – Think I just covered that 🙂
Increasing your intake of protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats – Trying to improve since my HA.
Like most illness, I have good days and I have bad days. The good days are still bad days as I am never free of my brain fog. I suffer from it on a daily basis. Just the severity is different from day-to-day. My real bad days, I don’t speak to a sole as I am terrified I will make a big mistake, or sign up to something I shouldn’t have, or generally make bad decisions. If I do need to make a decision about something, I run it all past my hubby first. This terrifies me as I was always someone with good common-sense and a sensible head on my shoulders. (I feel like I can’t trust my own judgement).
If I get a phone call on a bad day, well actually, any day, I put it on loudspeaker so hubby can hear it too, this way, if I forget something important, hopefully, he can help me. I’m often making notes on a phone call to help with this.
After my HA, I felt very badly let down by the medical profession as a whole. My GP always seemed to make me feel I was burdening them with trivial stuff and why was I wasting their time. I suffered (and probably still do) with depression and my anxiety has worsened to no end. My GP just handed me some leaflets and basically told to get on with it.
The other problem is that this is a hidden disability and believe me, disability it is! (No-one knows you have brain fog unless you tell them). It is difficult when out and about and you’re trying to remember what you went into a shop for, or you can’t remember where you put your bank card or loyalty card when at the till. It can be rather embarrassing to say the least.
My best mate suffers from brain fog too. We both end up giggling over the words we fail to remember or stop mid-sentence cos we can’t remember what we were going to say. It’s nice I can feel comfortable with someone who fully understands my daily struggles.
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NHS Wheelchair Service/Repairers: Is Yours “Fit For Purpose”? – Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, NHS Wheelchair Service, supplied me with my Spectra XTR 2 electric wheelchair. The batteries on my wheelchair unfortunately leaked and caused £4,000 worth of damage to all my floors. How well does your NHS W.S deal with things when they go wrong? In my experience, mine turns it’s back in the hope the problem goes away.
Is Your NHS Wheelchair Service “Fit For Purpose”? Have you received failed appointments, wrong parts? Has faulty parts damaged your home, “duty of care missing”?
Read on…. WARNING!!! In-depth blog. All identifying names have been removed from any/all correspondence shown or copied.
My New Chair – Unfit for Purpose?
I thought I would share the nightmare experience I had with my NHS Wheelchair Service (W.S) at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, under (St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).
After receiving my brand new electric indoor/outdoor wheelchair in Oct 2017, an Invacare Spectra XTR2, (read my review of my Spectra here). I thought this chair was the bee’s knees as it had all the bells and whistles like tilt & recline facility.
In June of the following year (2018), I had to have my batteries replaced. This was due to them not charging correctly so they would run out of juice far too quickly. I also noticed my batteries were not heavy-duty, so they were being changed for heavy-duty batteries, (which is what I was supposed to have been given in the 1st place). I had several issues with the engineer not arriving at the time, or on the day specified. Nevertheless, they were eventually changed, so all should be well from here on!!
Literally a year to the date I had to report another fault with my batteries. (The same problem as before). I was concerned as I had noticed what looked like stains on my wooden floors all over my home and holes in my bedroom carpet that looked like burn marks. Now, these marks were on my floors where I would park my wheelchair for periods of time. At the kitchen table where I would eat, middle of my lounge floor where I sat to watch TV, at my desk, at the entrance of my through-floor lift and in my bedroom where I would charge my chair overnight.
I decided I would check this out once the engineer was here and able to look at the burn marks himself. When the engineer came out with my new batteries, I showed him the burn marks and he agreed it did indeed look like my batteries had/were leaking. This was confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, once he took them outside to change them over for the new ones. The plastic box, that housed the batteries were full of liquid. The engineer took photo’s of my damaged floors and told me he would take them back to the depot and get the deputy lead to contact me.
Contact with AJM – Compensation Request
I waited a couple of weeks and as I had heard nothing from the repairers AJM Healthcare, I contacted the deputy lead asking if my engineer had spoken to him regarding my leaking batteries and the damage they had caused? He responded saying this is the first he had heard of it and when my engineer returns to the depot, he would speak to him and update me the following day. I received no update!!
A week had passed so I had to contact AJM again, this time in writing. This was their response: (X = My engineer).
Thank you for your patience while I investigated this issue. I have spoken to “X” and having looked at the pictures “X” has taken it is clear that gel has been leaking from the batteries. “X” also explained that when he said the previous engineer had not fitted them correctly he meant that they had not been connected as tightly as they should be, this would not cause the batteries to leak as they are a sealed unit. We have also checked this with the manufacturer of them.
I have also checked back on our database and it seems these were last
changed 08.06.2018 and have been on the chair for a year.
Unfortunately AJM are unable to accept responsibility for any damage caused for the batteries leaking and as such will not be able to compensate you for any damage caused.
As per your Terms and Conditions of Loan with the Wheelchair Service they suggest you have personal accident / damage cover in place for this such an incident to claim against.
Hmmm, ok, as per my T&C of loan? I was never given any T&C, so I couldn’t argue that point. (As it turned out, (because I had to ask for a copy at one of the wheelchair user group meetings) the T&C doesn’t say that at all! It does, however, advise holiday insurance for your chair when travelling abroad). So, me being me, asked for further info regarding my batteries!!!
So I emailed AJM once again.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, general
goodwill act or whatever act is necessary; please can you provide the following
information to me:
Paperwork showing the date the faulty batteries were purchased by AJM and where they were purchased from.
How and where were the batteries stored?
Who is the manufacturer of batteries?
Were the faulty batteries inspected at any time before installing onto my Electric Wheelchair? If so please provide corresponding report/paperwork showing what was entailed in this inspection.
Were the batteries charged before delivering to me? If so, please provide corresponding paperwork.
Copies of the PPM reports that have been performed on my Spectra XTR2 electric wheelchair.
Explanation of what you mean by a “Sealed Unit” actually means.
Have the faulty batteries been inspected since being returned to AJM, to find out the cause of the leakage? If so, what were your findings, please supply this report.
Full explanation of how the faulty batteries had been connected incorrectly and why this would NOT have contributed to the batteries leaking.
This information should arrive at me via email, no later than 14 days from the date of this email.
Again, I had to chase up AJM as they obviously didn’t respond within the 14 days as stated! Finally, now in September 2019, I received a reply. (answers are in bold):
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act, general
goodwill act or whatever act is necessary; please can you provide the following
information to me:
Paperwork showing the date the faulty batteries were purchased by AJM and where they were purchased from. We are unable to determine the date the batteries were purchased as they come in batch quantities but I can confirm they were purchased from MK Batteries.
How and where were the batteries stored? The batteries are stored in our stores in a caged area in the packaging they were delivered in.
Who is the manufacturer of batteries? MK Batteries.
Were the faulty batteries inspected at any time before installing onto my Electric Wheelchair? If so please provide corresponding report/paperwork showing what was entailed in this inspection. The batteries are inspected by the Fse before he fits them. We do not have any paperwork.
Were the batteries charged before delivering to me? If so, please provide corresponding paperwork. The batteries have 80% charge from the manufacturer so we do not need to charge them. Clients are advised to fully charge overnight before using the chair.
Copies of the PPM reports that have been performed on my Spectra XTR2 electric wheelchair. This chair has not had a PPM.
Explanation of what you mean by a “Sealed Unit” actually means. One single unit pre built, no part is able to be removed.
Have the faulty batteries been inspected since being returned to AJM, to find out the cause of the leakage? If so, what were your findings, please supply this report. The batteries have been scrapped which is the normal procedure.
Full explanation of how the faulty batteries had been connected incorrectly and why this would NOT have contributed to the batteries leaking. The connection from the chair to the battery terminals were not tightened enough, this would not be any connection to the batteries leaking as a) No pressure is put on the batteries and b) the batteries are kept in place by the tray not the connection.
This information should arrive at me via email, no later than 14 days from the date of this email.
Yes, he basically copied and pasted my original email and added one sentence and deemed this an adequate response!
Ok, so let’s break this lot down.
Q1 – A professional repair company is unable to determine when they purchased a batch shipment of batteries?? Indeed, 30-40 batteries costing approx £230 each are so easily misplaced!! There must be paperwork for this order!
Q2 – This is not how MK Batteries advise they should be stored. This is what MK says:
Q4 – If my memory serves me right, I believe at one of the user group meetings, it was explained that the Fse is the engineer that comes to your home to do the repairs. So, if this is correct, then he is the one who fitted my batteries incorrectly! (The previous engineer, to the one I have at present).
Q5 – Again, not advice from MK. Also, at many of the wheelchair user group meetings, it has been discussed that clients are so dependant on their/our chairs, replacement batteries should always be fully charged before fitting onto a client’s electric wheelchair. This was agreed by all parties involved, including AJM who attended these meetings. Also, AJM never advises clients to charge their chair overnight. The majority of the time, engineers come in, do what needs to be done and are gone again as quickly as possible.
Q6 – PPM is an annual service of our electric wheelchairs. So, 2 years down the road, my chair has not had one PPM done….Shocked yet?
Q7 – Well, that explains everything to Mrs Joe Bloggs, doesn’t it!
Q8 – The biggie – Scrapped!!!!! No, I found out later on from the wheelchair service this is not, I repeat NOT normal procedure!! AJM should have allowed the wheelchair service access to these batteries, so they could perform a FULL investigation!! (What are they trying to hide?)
NHS Wheelchair Service – Formal Complaint
NHS Wheelchair Service/repairers | Is Yours Fit For Purpose? – So, now on my 2nd set of batteries and believing my battery problem is now solved, I now need to sort out my floors and figure out if I am entitled to compensation for the damage caused. I was advised to get independent professional quotes for my formal complaint. The quotes were to replace all damaged flooring (as wooden laminate flooring can NOT be repaired) and came back just shy of £4,000. So I make my formal complaint to the wheelchair service’s complaints department and start the complaints procedure. I put everything down on paper and explain everything in great detail.
NHS Reply (click for larger image):
I was extremely disappointed in their reply, I stupidly expected more from the NHS, so I took them up on their offer of a meeting.
A meeting was arranged with the head of the wheelchair service and hospital director. I had my meeting on December 18th 2019. It went ok I suppose, the usual, the “we are sorry” bit and no shouting (on my part!) I kept calm and explained my grievance to both of them. In the end, I was offered two options:
Local resolution – for claims up to £1k, which could be expedited quickly
· NHS claim resolution – for claims over £1k, which would be a more lengthy process
As the damage to my home was quoted at £3,800 and £3,900, I took the latter.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I am nervous my batteries would leak again, so around 4 months after having them fitted, I had them checked. They were fitted in July 2019 and we are now in December 2019. Guess what? I was astounded to see that these batteries are also showing signs of leaking?? WTF is going on with these batteries?? You can see below the start of the batteries leaking with just FOUR months of usage!! Maybe now you can imagine how much leakage there would have been in the first set of batteries after a full year of usage!! No wonder AJM wanted rid of them! So again, they were replaced.
I phoned the W.S immediately after my engineer left, explained the situation and told them they need to get hold of these batteries before AJM “dispose” of these batteries. Before an investigation can be done on them! (The batteries you see above were replaced 2/12/19). So in the space of 2 years, I’m on my 3rd set of batteries. Oh, the W.S informed me that AJM confirmed they would quarantine the batteries so they could be investigated by the W.S. (Remember that fact, it becomes important shortly).
In the pictures below, these are the 2nd set of batteries (checked 4 months after being fitted). The 1st pic shows the leak that the deputy lead from AJM saw. He wiped the batteries dry, less than 24 hours apart, the other pictures clearly show how much liquid has formed overnight, shocking really!
Battery Investigation – Deliberate Fraud?
An investigation was performed on the 2nd set of batteries that had been removed from my chair and quarantined. The result of this investigation is shown below:
“There is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”.
They say “there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”. Hang on, what??
“there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid“. Just let that sink in!!
There is no evidence that the current or previous set of batteries…….Previous set of batteries? These were DISPOSED of by AJM!! So your basis for this is what?
“Or have the potential to leak”….EVERYTHING has the potential to leak, nothing is foolproof as my PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE clearly shows. Plus the deputy lead himself confirmed the batteries leaked.
“there is no evidence that the current or previous sets of batteries are damaged and/or have the potential to leak battery acid”. Would this have something to do with the fact the inspection/investigation was performed on a completely…….different……set……of……batteries!!!
You really couldn’t make this shit up if you tried!!!!
Look at the images above showing my leaking batteries, then look at the batteries in the inspection letter. How many differences can you see? I make 4 main differences!!
M – Warning sticker & bar code sticker. IB – Sunrise sticker (In different area on the battery).
M – Has no yellow label hanging from the handle. IB – Has a yellow label.
M – No hexagonal nuts across the batteries. IB – 6 hexagonal nuts going across both batteries.
I emailed the W.S to get clarification on the matter 8/2/20:
Dear Mrs….., I have one question, please. The batteries pictured on Page 1 of the report on the investigation into my chair batteries you sent me on 9/1/20 are these the batteries that the investigation was performed on? Kind regards
Thank you for your email.
I can confirm that the photos included in the report are the batteries that were inspected at AJM on the 20th of December. These are the batteries that had been placed in quarantine following removal from your powerchair.
I didn’t bother replying back as the incompetence shown, just stunned me into silence. This is beyond astounding!! The head of the Wheelchair Service, read, investigated and replied to my original complaint. Stated in this complaint many times by myself and AJM, was the fact my batteries were from MK Batteries. Not Sunrise as shown in the image.
How on earth does that kind of mistake happen?? Seriously, how??
I phoned the W.S directly after my engineer left my home with the leaking batteries, asking them to make sure these batteries are not “disposed” of. I was assured they would get these batteries quarantined.
My engineer mentioned he would have to package my batteries separately from other items in his van to prevent contamination.
The head of the W.S received a copy of this inspection.
So, if all of these things happened, how in the world did the wrong batteries get given to the W.S when they went to AJM’s depot to perform the inspection?? My opinion. A deliberate act of falsifying evidence to alter the results of the investigation performed by the W.S. The question now, is what part does the wheelchair service play in all of this? (To this day, the W.S have made no further comment on this cock-up or taken any measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again).
Of course, I forwarded my findings in the form of a letter to the hospital director, head of the wheelchair service and the resolution team, all 5 pages worth (hence why I haven’t shown it here). I asked for acknowledgement of receipt of my letter, nothing as yet…Are 2 days long enough to expect an acknowledgement? or am I being impatient?
In January 2020, my batteries were yet again changed and I was given a new charger. I was told, “just in case” this played a part. Seriously, how many times will this need to happen? I already have no confidence whatsoever in the batteries being supplied to me by AJM and terrified if and when I get my floors sorted out that the same issue won’t happen again!!!
I have been given no assurances by the wheelchair service, actually, I’ve had no further correspondence from them at all, just told if I wish to claim, it will be a lengthy process and if I have home insurance, they advise me to claim on that! I’m sure you do, your performance record stays clean that way!! (Oh, heads up, home insurance doesn’t cover you unless you have accidental damage cover which is an add on at an extra premium price. Or at least this is the case with Nationwide’s Home Contents Insurance).
As I am making a claim through the hospital claims department (NHS Resolution) I received a letter asking me for more info, so I sent it.
I don’t think they are going to be very happy with me as it turned out to be 9 pages long. Well, I didn’t want to leave anything out for them to use against me. It’s so annoying as you always think of more information you could have supplied after sending letter/email. I have had no confirmation that they have received my reply even though I sent a separate email asking for one. So now I am worried they haven’t received it.
I decided to phone to see if he had received my email, he confirmed he had. I then received this email from him:
Good afternoon Mrs X,
I refer to our telephone conversation yesterday lunchtime & acknowledge receipt of your e-mail dated 3/2/20.
I am sorry that this matter has dragged on for so long – I’m sure it would’ve been resolved by now if liability was admitted, but as you know this is not the case. As you are aware, the Trust does not supply the batteries and AJ Mobility Ltd (an independent contractor) is contracted by the Trust to maintain and repair the wheelchairs, so there are other parties involved and we need to liaise with them.
We are awaiting further information/instructions from the Trust and our further advices will follow as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we would respectfully advise that if and when liability is resolved, any settlement proposals will be on an indemnity basis, that is a deduction will be made for wear and tear based on the age of the damaged flooring and carpet.
Is it my imagination or have I been very badly treated throughout this whole process? If I was someone less able to stand up for myself, I wouldn’t have stood a chance against this lot.
My personal opinion is AJM has known all along they have a problem with their batteries. Now they have come up against someone who has caught them out and trying to hold them accountable, they are running around like headless chickens trying to cover up their incompetence.
Why else would they dispose of the 1st set of batteries immediately and then deny even knowing the batteries had been returned?
As a company, you must have a paper trail of stock bought for tax, insurance purposes at the very least.
You don’t “accidentally” make a mistake like quarantining the wrong batteries. I believe, AJM purposefully supplied the wrong batteries to be investigated to the Wheelchair Service?
How involved in this “mistake” is the Wheelchair Service. Why did they not check serial numbers of batteries removed from my chair against the ones being inspected? How did they not see the Sunrise sticker when they already knew my batteries were supplied by MK Batteries?
Why did the W.S ignore all previous complaints made by their wheelchair users regarding underperforming batteries? Why didn’t the W.S investigate these complaints?
I would like to know why haven’t the W.S not investigated the reasons for the swap? Or are they aware their investigative skills are more than useless?
I even tried to get my local MP Ruth Cadbury involved, for all the good that did me. One of her aids just emailed me links to the CAB and such like.
When this all started, I contacted my legal helpline (through my home insurance) as obviously, I needed advice. This case, unfortunately, didn’t come under any consumer act laws, as I didn’t “purchase” my chair. (Hence why I contacted my local MP).
My wheelchair is supplied by the NHS for free, under a loan agreement. (Well, if that’s what you call 4-6 bullet point loan agreement!) So under my insurance policy T&C, they were unable to help me take legal action. So, in light of all this new information (above) and lack of duty of care etc, I contacted my solicitor again. I was told I have a good case of negligence but would have to take this to court myself, as again my policy doesn’t cover this type of case.
(Nationwide, your policy is not worth the paper it’s written on. Shame your so-called “Advisor” didn’t “advise” me how the “Accidental Cover” worked. I won’t be renewing my policy!) I was advised to make going to court my last resort and to give the hospital the opportunity to settle out of court. Yeah like that will happen!! So this is why I sent my 5-page letter to the hospital with my new findings. If/when I get a reply, you know I’ll let you know.
AJM Delay Tactics – Ignoring the Problem Won’t Make it Go Away!
I eventually received a reply from NHS Resolutions (NHS.R) explaining their delay in responding to me, was due to trying to get a resolution from AJM and in the way of an explanation, sent me the conversation between them and AJM. (People’s names have been removed).
NHS Resolutions = Pink text | AJM = Blue text
NHS Resolutions – 16 April 2020:
I am sorry for the delay in coming back to you regarding your claim, but enclose by way of a update an e-mail exchange between ourselves and AJM.
As you will see, they have agreed to re-investigate this matter although this was before the current global pandemic escalated, so I don’t know whether AJM have made contact with you again yet. However, I wanted to keep you in the loop because I am not yet able to provide you with our formal response and anticipate that it will be at least a month or two before I am able to do so. That said, you will note the Trust’s position from my e-mail dated 21/2/20.
Our further advices will follow as soon as possible.
I have to wait another month OR two?? AJM has refused to respond in the NINE months since my original reporting of the fault and Seven months since the start of this claim, what makes him think they will now respond in TWO months??????
NHS.R – 21 February 2020 :
Further to my previous e-mail dated 11/2/20, I enclose another e-mail we have received from the Claimant containing “new evidence” for your attention.
As you will see, the allegations are primarily against AJM & we remain of the view that this claim is one for you &/or your insurers to deal with before it litigates or escalates.
I therefore look forward to hearing from you or your insurers ASAP please.
MR X– can you please respond on behalf of the Trust. You may already be aware of it because the Claimant has also sent it to Miss A & Mr B.
NHS.R – 16 March 2020 :
I refer to my e-mails dated 11/2/20 & 21/2/20 & cannot trace having received a response for either yourself or your insurers yet.
Can you please respond urgently.
AJM – 18 March 2020
Apologies I have not responded, for some reason your emails went to junk folder.
In regards to the client we investigated fully and in depth and AJM were found not to be at fault.
The batteries that were in the chair had been in for over a year before they failed and were out of warranty period. The batteries were not fitted incorrectly and were the right type for the chair the client is in. The reasons for them failing could be down to charging regime but that is difficult to ascertain.
My apologies that this seems to be continuing as the last I knew it was with the WCS as is their equipment on the back of our findings with no further contact from them. If you would like me to re-visit this situation with you then I will be happy to do so. Just to add that this situation at investigation did involve the National Operations Manager for the company and was taken seriously and fully investigated.
So now they are suggesting it is how I charge my chair? I have charged my chair the same way I always have for the past 16 years but of course, that could be the reason! AJM, not at fault? Well, of course, they’re going to say that! An investigation was performed on what could only be described as brand new batteries by the W.S. Of course, AJM couldn’t possibly be at fault!! AJM claims their National Operations Manager was involved, yet, deliberate mistakes were STILL being made!! (I digress).
NHS.R – 18 March 2020
Thanks for your response.
Your suggestion to revisit the situation is welcome although the Trust, like I do, remain of the view that this claim is one for AJM to pick up as the alleged failings are attributed to AJM’s negligence. The Claimant has made further allegations in her most recent letter dated 12/2/20, which I trust that you have seen, & should be grateful if you would respond to these when you reply. Do you intend to contact the Claimant as part of your re-investigation? How much time will you need? Our liability response is due on Monday 23/3/20 & I am on leave from tomorrow until next Tuesday, so I really need to contact her today to keep her in the loop.
I look forward to hearing from you by return.
AJM – 18 March 2020
I will speak to my Line Manager about the situation and see what he would like to do. The hope is that we have all of the investigation notes that we can send on for you to look at so you are fully in the picture. I will contact the client next week when I hear back from him. As you can appreciate we are fully engaged this week with strategy planning in light of the current situation with the Coronavirus.
No, you didn’t contact me then or at point in the future!!
NHS.R – 16 April 2020
Can you please advise the present position regarding your re-investigation & response to the Claimant’s new allegations. I appreciate that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, but I still need to keep her in the loop & provide a timescale, particualrly as our liability response is overdue.
I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
And that was that!! Or was it, yep, you know me by now, I sent another email to NHS.R
I know this will end up in the small claims court. Something I so didn’t want to happen or relish going through but in all fairness, with how things have progressed to date, what other results can one see happening??
UPDATE – 15th June 2020
Tomorrow is the deadline for the extra time NHS.R so kindly gave themselves. I had no choice in this matter you see, he gave himself a month or two extra as he still hadn’t heard from AJM!! Ha….What a surprise!!! Exactly TWO MONTHS tomorrow is the deadline. Hedge any bets as to whether or not I will get a reply? Let alone a satisfactory one??
Formal Response – NHS Resolutions
Well now…..I got a response! 5:50pm talk about milk this out to the last knockings!! This is what they said:
Good afternoon Mrs X,
I am pleased to inform you that, after prolonged negotiations, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (who we act for) and AJM Healthcare (who we don’t) have finally come to an agreement in relation to sharing your claim between them, with NHS Resolution dealing with the negotiations. I am sorry that it has taken so long to get to this point, but hopefully the matter can proceed more speedily from now on.
Turning to the value of your claim (quantum), it is difficult to obtain any context from the close up photos you have provided and we wonder whether you can provide a floor plan with measurements and photos, showing the damage in context with rest of the affected rooms and the general condition of the flooring and carpet. It is also unclear whether all of the stains have been caused by the acid and if indeed, any of them can be professionally removed – the estimates you have provided make no reference to this or indicate whether the carpet/flooring is a like for like replacement.
We would also advise that you are only be entitled to recover the cost of replacement (assuming none of the stains can be removed) less a deduction for wear and tear. I note that the floors are between one and eight years old and that you have no receipts although if the kitchen floor was only one year old, are you able to remember the supplier? If so, can you go back and obtain copy of the original invoice from them? Finally, please note that we are also unable to pay for undamaged areas if there are doors or physical barriers in between, so again a plan/more photos would be useful.
Notwithstanding the above, we are keen to see an early resolution to his matter now that liability is no longer an issue and are willing to offer you the sum of £1,500 in full and final settlement of your claim. If this amount is acceptable, kindly provide your bank details and I will ask the Trust to make a BACS payment to you as soon as possible. If not, please provide the additonal information requested above.
I look forward to hearing from you.
He looks forward to hearing from me? Yeah right, only if I’m willing to accept their pitiful offer!
So the Trust & AJM are willing to “share” my claim? So, liability has been accepted then! Well, dig deeper guys and do the right thing.
Value of my claim? Quantum? What the hell is that?? Ok a quick search revealed this: Quantum meruit means “the amount he deserves” or “as much as he has earned”. In most cases it denotes a claim for a reasonable sum in respect of services or goods supplied to the defendant. … A claim for quantum meruit cannot arise if the parties have a contract to pay an agreed sum. Hmm well, that’s a matter of opinion!
(Provide a floor plan with measurements and photos) Yes, of course, I’ll have my private architect get right on that for you!! Why was this not asked for at an earlier date?
“It is also unclear whether all of the stains have been caused by the acid and if indeed, any of them can be professionally removed” – Stains?? Woah, Woah there, let’s get this clear here and now, they are NOT stains, they are burns caused by a corrosive substance! I have already explained in my in-depth correspondence to NHS.R, these BURNS are only where I park my chair for a period of time – At my desk, where I sit to watch tv, where I sit to eat my dinner, where my chair bumps up and down off my through-floor lift, where my chair sits overnight while being charged. I was told from two different professional companies it is impossible to repair wooden flooring as the colours will just not match, even if the same flooring is purchased. Therefore, the burns are unable to be “removed”!! I know a lot of people would claim for better flooring then entitled to. I’m only asking for a like for like replacement……NOT A PENNY MORE!!!! Another thing……Why am I being asked for this information NOW??? You obviously know your offer is laughable and already expect me to refuse this. So, are you now trying other tactics to get out of coughing up?
“We would also advise that you are only be entitled to recover the cost of replacement (assuming none of the stains can be removed)”. – And that is EXACTLY what I have asked for!! The damaged sections can NOT be repaired, the whole damn floor needs to be replaced and that is what I was quoted for. Do you honestly think I want the upheaval and stress, let alone having to vacate my home overnight to have my floors replaced on a whim?
“if the kitchen floor was only one year old, are you able to remember the supplier? If so, can you go back and obtain copy of the original invoice from them”? – Has anyone ever gone back to a supplier a year after purchasing an item and got a copy of their receipt?? Is that even possible?? Outside of business to business transactions.
“Finally, please note that we are also unable to pay for undamaged areas if there are doors or physical barriers in between, so again a plan/more photos would be useful”. – Now, where did I put my architect’s number?
“Notwithstanding the above, we are keen to see an early resolution to his matter now that liability is no longer an issue and are willing to offer you the sum of £1,500 in full and final settlement of your claim”. – Ummm, kinda proves they’re not expecting me to accept their offer, why else state they are keen to see an early resolution, yet ask me for all this new information, especially AFTER making me an offer??? Again, dodgy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Liability no longer a problem? Maybe I should cease these negotiations with these bunch of ******** and go straight to court!!!
I Will let you know what I decide.
(AJM’s contract with the W.S expired the end of February 2020……It was NOT renewed!! Supposedly, they lost a couple of their contracts around the same time. If true, then says all you need to know about how this company operates)!
I sat and thought long and hard as to what my options were. I decided to refuse their offer. NHS.R came back with another offer of £2,500. Good, £1000 increase but still £1,500 away from what I need, not want, to replace my damaged flooring. I replied stating I would be happy to accept £3,800 as this was the lower of the two quotes, supplied. I’m awaiting their response…..
So I got their response and I’m ecstatic to say they have once again upped their offer to £3,000. This is an offer I am willing to accept! Within this response though, I was told: “it seemed for a very long time that the Trust wouldn’t be contributing anything towards this claim and it was only recently that I managed to broker an agreement between them and AJM. Whilst quantum and liability can be investigated simultaneously, I was reluctant to do so initially when my instructions were to re-direct the claim in its entirety to AJM”. Wow, the Trust really believed they played no part in this fiasco??
It’s not the full amount needed to pay for replacing my floors, (the rest, I will have to find myself) but in all fairness, I knew I was never going to get the full amount. Who does in these type of cases. I was prepared to go to court if needed but obviously, didn’t relish the idea. I was told my case was not covered by any kind of consumer law and although I was told by a solicitor I had a good case of negligence, you can never know what a Judge would make of such a case!
Anyhow, I got the result I had hoped for, so hopefully, now I can put this matter to rest and start getting my health back to some form of normality and hopefully sooner rather than later, get my floors finally replaced.
I was also told: “Please allow up to 30 days for receipt as this is public money”. (Wanna bet they’ll make me wait the full 30 days??). Well, I’ve battled for 11 months, I suppose another 30 days in comparison is nothing!!
All legal avenues were closed to me. Either, my case wasn’t covered or not worth anyone’s time to advise me on my options. (My claim wasn’t for a big enough amount to warrant any solicitor help). Unfortunately, though, this leaves other wheelchair users who use NHS wheelchair services across the country, at risk of being treated the same. I’m disgusted at how I was treated and the fact that these companies can behave this way with no repercussions whatsoever.
The law stinks when the little guy/gal needs legal advice. I noticed that there will be a few legal firms at the Naidex show, (when it’s finally able to go ahead) hopefully one of them will point me in the right direction to make changes!! Then again, probably won’t be financially worth their while, no doubt!!
I finally received my compensation today. What a relief! I….have….now….ordered….my….new….floors….Yaayyy!!! Now for the big upheaval of moving furniture, I have no idea where I am going to store all of it. My whole downstairs flooring is to be replaced, where do you put half a house of furniture? I can’t put it in our bedroom as that flooring is being replaced also. I also have to put my dog with a dog sitter, I can’t have her go through all the stress of workmen in and out, banging, materials lying around etc.
This is the side these companies DON’T want to see or understand……I haven’t claimed for the sheer hell of it you know. I’m really not looking forward to the stress this is all going to cause me!
Sidenote: I’ve had to report another fault to the newly contracted repairers as my chair again, is not holding a charge and is running out of juice far too quickly and is slowing right down.
WILL THIS EVER END!!!!!!!
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When I’m Asked What’s Wrong With You?: Should I Take Offence? As a disabled person myself and a full-time wheelchair user, I am often asked by complete strangers, “what is wrong with you?”. Some people take great offence at this, yet these same people bang on about how ignorant ableds are! Can ableds win?
What’s Wrong With You?
I was on holiday last year and I experienced good and bad attitudes from non-disabled people.
The good side (in my opinion): It was at the end of a wonderful ’80s themed night aboard a ship I was cruising on with my family (read my review). We were finishing our drinks after dancing the night away to all the popular 80’s music when the lady sat at the next table asked me “do you mind me asking what is wrong with you?”. I replied, “no, of course not”. I genuinely didn’t mind.
I went on to explain how I was born with my disability Arthrogryposis, how this affects my daily life and how my husband is my carer etc. etc. She seemed genuinely interested and even asked more questions when she didn’t understand something. She was amazed when I spoke of the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis by society/buildings etc. I explained this was why I loved cruising, as it was one of the more accessible holidays available to me. She couldn’t understand why access wasn’t better.
I spoke for quite a while, not realising how passionate I had become explaining why I do the things I do and how my disability affects my outlook on life. So I wrapped things up and said goodnight.
The bad side: (again on our cruise, we (my family) had a great but tiring day at port this particular day. I was making my way back to my cabin and while in the lift alone, this lady got on at another floor and immediately starting complaining to me how sore her feet were and how she had walked and walked and walked the whole day. How she couldn’t wait to take her shoes off and rest her poor feet. Now maybe it was because I was tired but all I wanted to shout at her was “at least you bloody well have legs that you can use to walk and walk and walk!”.
Should I Get Offended?
Should I get offended? I suppose this question can’t really be answered with a simple yes or no. It boils down to the individual’s perception of they deem to be offensive, the same way as asking “did you find that joke funny?”. Each person has their own idea of what is funny, the same way as each individual find some things offensive while others do not. Me personally, I’m not offended if someone genuinely wants to know. But that’s the key for me if the person asking is genuine!
Offend: To irritate, annoy, or anger; – Cause resentful displeasure in: – To affect (the sense, taste, etc.) disagreeably. – To hurt or cause pain to.
I kinda get it when disabled people say how rude and personal this is but, in all fairness, you can decide how personal your answer will be…..Can you not? I can’t help but feel that some disabled people want their cake and eat it. Some go on and on about how ableds are so uneducated and ignorant towards disability, yet when they take the time to ask you about it, you go all offended and say how rude of them?
I love someone wanting to take time out of their day, holiday, shopping or whatever to ask me about my disability. I hope that I am contributing to helping people better understand disability (well mine anyway), so they may pass this on or prevent discrimination in the future.
Of course, I think it’s fairly easy to know if someone is being false or malicious in their questioning and yes, I totally agree they should not be entertained!
One of the things I do get offended by is the fact my husband wears an artificial left leg and normally the first thing strangers assume is that he has been in the forces and lost his leg. They seem to forget that he may have been born with a disability. I mean, there is no other way to have an artificial limb, is there!!
The other is that I have polio. When I used to walk with my calipers, 90% of people (especially minicab drivers) always assumed I had polio. (Not sure if this was anything to do with a common charity box outside a lot of shops back then that was a young boy wearing one calliper on his leg). I would then have to correct them and explain what Arthrogryposis was 🙂
To me, assumptions are more offensive than just asking me “what’s wrong with you”. I am always happy to take the time to talk to anyone wishing to be educated.
If you want to know about my disability, I will always do my best to explain it to you, provided you are genuinely interested. I understand how difficult and uncomfortable it might be for some, to talk to disabled people. People are only human at the end of the day and are scared of “different”.
I saw a video some time ago where a wheelchair user (male) sat in a very popular area (can’t remember where now), sat with a cardboard sign saying people could ask him anything about his disability. I have often thought of doing this myself. I am intrigued as to what people would ask me.
In my opinion, disabled people who complain and give out about how rude ableds are for wanting to know about their disability don’t have the right to complain and moan about the same ableds of being ignorant or uneducated!
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Disabled people: Brand New Car Every Three Years! The biggest misconception is that disabled people get a brand new car for free. Not true! The Motability Scheme helps disabled people in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance by exchanging this allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.
In a nutshell, anyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) can use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle from Motability. The lease is normally for three years and five years for a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).
Motability’s standard lease takes care of running costs such as insurance for up to three named drivers (this doesn’t have to be you), servicing, maintenance, breakdown cover and tyre and windscreen repair and replacement. All you need to do is add fuel and go.
I’ve had it said to me many many times that it must be so good getting a brand new car every couple of years for free! Yeah, I suppose it would be great but this is just not the case. The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.
The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.
I give up the higher rate of my mobility component so I may have a car to allow me my independence, rather than having to depend on other people to get my medication, shopping etc. When my son was school age, I was able to take him and pick him up from school. This was paramount to me as he was being bullied at school and suffered terrible anxiety.
I became a full-time wheelchair user many years ago, not being able to put my own electric wheelchair in our car and drive off somewhere, means I can longer go out on my own. Therefore I am now in the process of applying for WAV (I will write about my experience, once I have received my car).
Wheelchair Service User Group – The Wheelchair Service at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton have meetings quarterly for their users of the service to help shape how the service is provided. If you are a client of the W.S and would like to be a part of this group, all you have to do is contact me on my Contact Page. The Wheelchair Service is based at Queen Mary’s Hospital and is for people registered with GPs in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Spelthorne, Merton and Sutton.
If you have a GP in the boroughs mentioned above and would like to become a client of this Wheelchair Service, please visit their website for more information: Wheelchair Service website.
The service provides wheelchairs, buggies, pressure distributing cushions and associated special seating for people of all ages with a permanent disability affecting their ability to walk. It is an ‘open access’ service and registered clients can contact therapists for information and advice as necessary. The Wheelchair Service based at Queen Mary’s Hospital is for people registered with GPs in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kingston, Spelthorne, Merton and Sutton.
Wheelchair user travels on a train for 1st time – I travelled on a train but will I do it again!! – I have been a full-time wheelchair user for over 15 years and I have NEVER travelled on a train…..Why? Fear!! Fear of being crushed, fear of being trapped in the doors, fear of my wheels getting trapped in the gap, my list of fears were endless! That was until 2 days ago when I faced my fears and went riding on the trains with a lovely man called Alan (@AlansTweets).
I met Alan at Twickenham station, where we were to start our journey. I arrived early so I could take a look around inside, to familiarise myself. Not much to see really, just a few ticket machines and a ticket office, which was closed.
We took the lift down to the platform and asked a member of staff if we could have the ramp for the next train heading to Clapham Junction on the SWR (South Western Railways) line. Not a problem, the train arrived and we got on using the ramp without any incident whatsoever. I have to say, I was extremely surprised as to how much room was available for wheelchair users, both Alan and I (both wheelchair users) had more than enough room to park our chairs.
During our journey, Alan spoke about his experiences and the pitfalls that can happen. He said, “The key is to stay calm and be polite but firm when dealing with mishaps”. Very good advise indeed! After all, you can’t expect to travel problem free ALL the time, thing are going to go wrong, that’s called life! But, if they do go wrong, just stay calm and deal with it the best you can.
We arrived at Clapham Junction where we jumped onto the Underground. Now I hope I have our journey correct below, it was hard taking in all this wonderful new information at once. I was like a big kid taking in all the new sights/sounds etc around me. But I think our journey went something like this:
Twickenham > Clapham Junction – SWR Underground – Clapham Junction > Waterloo Underground – Waterloo > Westminister – We popped out to take a look at Big Ben Underground – Westminister > Victoria Victoria > Twickenham – SWR
I tried my best to remember everywhere we had been, take in the sights AND remember where & how I would travel in the future and ask for assistance.
I have to say I was not looking forward to travelling on the underground, this was my biggest fear. Crowds, pushing/shoving all the things we all know about the underground. But I have to say, (ok it was approx 2:30 pm) but the underground was pleasantly not as busy as I had expected it to be. Don’t think I would ever attempt to travel in rush hour.
We arrived at Westminister as I asked if it would be possible to see Big Ben. We went outside the station and low and behold, what was staring me in the face? Big Ben haha, I never realised it sat right outside the station. So, we didn’t have far to go.
My only memories of train travel/underground, was as a child when my Mum would take me to Great Ormand Street hospital and we would have to use those big, rusty, caged lifts where the doors had to be slammed shut and then the big iron gate door had to be slid across. Scary days really (for a toddler). My one attempt at train travel as a late teenager is not one I am going to go into but be assured it probably was the reason I never attempted it again until now!
We then travelled back to Victoria to get on SWR back to Twickenham. Again, no problems at all……..Until we reached Twickenham and no-one turned up with the ramp! I pressed the red button so someone would be alerted to our dilemma. We spoke with whom I believe was a guard, explained our situation and then this announcement came over the train: Link is to a video Alan made of our journey, this is the announcement: https://twitter.com/i/status/1238576905135296514
Well, you can imagine how upset we both were over this. I think Alan was going to email about this. It was unfortunate that this had to be the one lip in our whole journey. Everything went lovely and smooth without any problems and then that happened!!
Will I do it again? Damn right I will. I can’t thank Alan and wife enough for taking time out of their busy schedule to take me on the train and show me how easy it can actually be…..Thank you to both of you.
Any questions, why not drop me a line using my Contact Page.
Disabled people know only too well how hard our lives are on a day-to-day basis. This is before we even leave our own homes. So, is it any wonder we fight for changes that will improve our daily living? Things like:
Blue Badge Parking
The list truly is endless of the battles we face every single day of our lives.
All of these things help us be as independent as possible and live as best we can, but…………I have read some disabled people’s comments on social media that have me thinking are we becoming an expectant lot of people?
Example 1: A woman was moaning about not being able to use a discount voucher she received for her birthday, as she was already in receipt of a company/venue discount due to being disabled.
So she was expecting to be discounted twice??? Was it really unfair of the company/venue to decline her birthday discount? Turn the tables around……Is it unfair she gets a permanent discount where other users do not??
Unfortunately, I can’t remember the company/venue and no more information was given regarding the circumstances.
Example 2: Another disabled person was moaning at the fact that they had to pay in a car park even though they had a blue badge.
According to The Blue Badge scheme: rights and responsibilities in England, found on the Gov.uk website:
A Blue Badge will help you to park close to your destination, either as a passenger or driver.
The badge is intended for on-street parking only.
Off-street car parks, such as those provided by shopping centres, hospitals or supermarkets are covered by separate rules.
These separate rules say:
Off-street car parks (such as supermarket, hospital or local council car parks) Off-street car park operators should provide parking spaces for disabled people. However, it is up to the car park owner to decide whether badge holders can park free of charge.
Do not assume you can always park for free.
The blue badge is not a permit for FREE parking everywhere and automatically!!
If one reads the information supplied, one would not look like a tit complaining about something that is not a given right!!!
Yes, I am fully aware of how expensive life as a disabled person is and yes, of course, every bit of help is gratefully received but…….I can’t help feeling that some, not all, disabled people want the sun, moon AND stars!!
My long-awaited Vegas trip is approaching fast where I will be rocking the night away with Billy Idol. In preparation for this, I have bought black and red velvet material, lace trimmings and gold chains. No, not for anything kinky lol It’s to dress up my electric wheelchair, something I have done before.
I’m fed up that companies won’t recognise that disabled people (wheelchair users) have personalities and some of us wish to convey our personality through our chairs. After all, my wheelchair is an extension of me is it not? Plain black is not my style….As you will see.
So, what do you think? I have to say a BIG thank you to my hubby who slaved over the sewing machine for many days to make these covers for me. Something I could not have achieved without him.
Even after a landmark court case win, disabled people are seemingly still fighting for the wheelchair space WE fought to have implemented on buses!!
Quote: In February 2012, Doug Paulley, a wheelchair user, tried to board a FirstGroup bus from Wetherby to Leeds. The wheelchair space was being used by a mother with a pushchair and a sleeping child. She refused the driver’s request to move or fold the pushchair and so the driver told Mr Paulley he could not board the bus.
Mr Paulley successfully sued FirstGroup at Leeds County Court for unlawful discrimination against him due to his disability, but this was later overturned on appeal. The case was then heard by the Supreme Court, which has given its final verdict today. The Commission has supported Mr Paulley at the Court of Appeal, and at the Supreme Court.
David Isaac added:
“Public transport is essential for disabled people to live independently, yet bus companies have not made it easy for this to happen. This is a victory for disabled people’s rights. The success of this case means bus companies will have to end ‘first come, first served’ polices, increasing peace of mind for disabled people.
“This has been about correcting a confusing policy which has caused untold problems for disabled people.
“For years, wheelchair users have been deterred from using vital public transport links because they could not be sure they will be able to get on. Today’s judgment will make that easier.” – Source: EHRC – David Isaac said Today’s judgment will make that easier……How? The law is still not specific enough about the wheelchair space! It should be made a law that buggies can use the space but when needed by a wheelchair user, they MUST move or fold down their buggy and if they refuse, they vacate the bus and wait for the next one. I mean, parents don’t mind that happening to us at present, so I say equality is the way the go!! Let them know what it’s like to sit in the pouring rain on a freezing cold winters day being refused access to bus after bus because parents don’t want to move their buggies. Now before I’m lynched, I know full well that there are many parents only too happy to move, I thank each and every one of you for this. It is the ignorant, self-important ones I’m on about. They just turn their heads and completely ignore everyone!!
The signs on the bus say: “Priority wheelchair area – This space is reserved for a wheelchair – The wheelchair must be placed facing forwards resting against the support or backrest with the brakes on. – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user.
Baby Buggies – Buggies can use this area if it is not needed by a wheelchair user – Please move out of the wheelchair priority area if necessary. – Buggies may need to be folded a busy times.
So what part of PRIORITY WHEELCHAIR AREA – This space is RESERVED – Please give up this space for a wheelchair user. – Buggies can use this area IF IT IS NOT needed by a wheelchair user are people not understanding?? The sign seems very cut and dry to me!!
If you went to a restaurant and sat at a table marked “Reserved”, you would be moved by a member of staff, yes? So why can’t bus drivers/companies make buggies move from this “Reserved” area?? It really isn’t rocket science!!
TFL say: Buggy users and other passengers may use the wheelchair space, however if a wheelchair user wants to board the bus, other passengers and buggy users will be asked to vacate the space or fold their buggies.
On many buses the space is big enough for the wheelchair and buggy to share, but the wheelchair user does take priority and must be correctly positioned in order to travel safely. In some circumstances buggy users may be asked to fold their buggies and wherever possible fold their pram.
Having lunch with a friend in Greggs Cafe in Hounslow yesterday, I noticed several customers trying to get upstairs to use the toilets. The door leading to the stairs was locked. Only staff were using the door using a code on the door lock.
I asked a member of staff as to why the door was kept locked. I was told it was because the door was broken. (Didn’t look broken to me as the staff seemed quite capable of using it). This member went on to say how it was ok as customers could use the other toilet…….The DISABLED toilet!!! NO, IT’S NOT OK!!!!!
I have IBS, my stomach could turn at a moments notice and I need to rush to the toilet……Oh but I can’t use the toilet as one of your abled customers is using the DISABLED toilet because Greggs have never heard of a fecking DOOR STOP!!!!!!!!!!!
There is a culture in today’s world that the majority of disabled people are faking it! Contrary to belief and we know who started the rumour, (yes the government, so they can condone their actions regarding austerity, ATOS, PIP assessments, UC etc all of which were designed to fail, except austerity of course). Fakers are few and far between! Disabled parking bay abusers are a much more common daily occurrence but that doesn’t cost the government money, so of no interest to change or enforce.
The media have contributed to this culture by seemingly creating two types of disabled people: inspirational/sporting “look what they can do”, or lying scroungers. So if I can’t partake in sport/Olympics and represent my country, I must be a faker? This is the problem! What people are forgetting is that our Olympians are sponsored by many different companies, their equipment, (wheelchairs, artificial limbs etc) cost thousands and thousands of pounds to help them achieve their goals. This IS why they can do what they do, plus the years and years of training they do!! If you are Joe Bloggs, believe me, you are given what you’re given and made feel you should be grateful for that much. My husband who was also born with his disability wears an artificial leg, he went to his GP to ask him to sign the form necessary to apply for a freedom pass, the GP responded by saying “how can you class yourself disabled when we have Olympians with artificial limbs”? Needless to say, he didn’t sign the form!!!! So when up against attitudes like that, why would anyone want to FAKE being disabled?
Able-bodied people will never & can never understand why we (disable people) NEED the things we fight for, like, accessibility, adapted housing, barriers removed, attitudes changed. How can they? They don’t have to live the life we live. They are blessed with being able to take most things we HAVE to fight for, for granted!! For example, let’s take something simple: Busses: Disabled people fought for many many years to get the wheelchair space implemented, now everyone wants to use it. Some parents with buggies will not move from that space if a wheelchair user needs it, believing it is their RIGHT to stay put!! Well let’s see now, the sign on the busses says what exactly:
“Should a wheelchair user wish to use this space, please move to another part of the bus”. So when I am left again feeling downtrodden, embarrassed, a burden, angry, wet & cold, yes I fake my disability. So, when it’s obviously clear, you are asked to move, this self-righteous attitude some of you have adopted is quite obnoxious! At the end of the day, you CAN take your child out of the buggy, fold said buggy and move, I CAN’T get out of my wheelchair and sit on a seat and fold my chair, no matter how much I would love to be able to do that.
The hate & personal attacks shown to disabled people is fed by the fact you are made to believe we are receiving special treatment or an added extra. This then makes you believe we must be faking it to get said treatment. So…………
When I’m having to have another painful procedure to unblock my catheter that’s caused another urinary infection, or radio-frequency facet joint injections into my spine to try to alleviate my pain, I mean, there’s no guarantee they are going to work!
I am suffering the terrible side effects of the medication I have to take just to keep me alive.
Losing friends because they have no idea what it is like to live my life and have no patience.
Stuck in bed again because I’m in too much pain to be able to move.
Losing the career I love because my employer sacked me due to the amount of sick time I have to take.
The list goes on and on and on!!!
Just because I have a smile on my face, doesn’t mean I’m ok!!
All the stuff disabled people fight for can take many years to get changed or implemented and most are not even achieved. All we want is to have the same quality of life most able-bodied people take for granted. The trouble is, the things we fight for often don’t even help as disabled people are not listened to so the entity making the changes rarely ever get it right. You believe it is special treatment and extra because something has to be an add-on feature because, in the structure of life, disabled people are forgotten about.
The blue badge disabled parking scheme is undergoing its biggest shake-up since it was introduced in 1970. Previously, local authorities could not exclude those with hidden disabilities, but granting permission was very much open to interpretation. The changes now give councils clearer guidelines. Last month, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed that from 2019, people with hidden disabilities will be granted access to the scheme too. Read the full story here.
According to the Citizen Advice Bureaux:
If you’re disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge.
You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition.
Who can get a Blue Badge
You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:
are registered as blind
get the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of your assessment – check your decision letter if you’re not sure
get War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (tariffs 1 to 8), and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability
If you’re not automatically eligible
It’s worth applying as you might still be able to get a badge. You’ll have to fill in an extra part of the application to show why you need one.
You should do this if:
you have problems walking that is permanent, or that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year
you can’t use your arms
you’re applying on behalf of a child aged over 2 who has problems walking, or a child under 3 who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition
Will the councils, private car parks, hospitals, high streets etc. increase the amount of disabled parking bays to accommodate all the new users?
Will councils tackle Blue Badge abuse that happens, more effectively?
If the blue badge is now open to people with all disabilities, how will this affect people with mobility conditions and people who need the extra space for wheelchairs?
We all know how difficult it is to find an empty disabled parking bay as it is. Once this change takes effect next year, can you imagine just how much harder this will become? I always believed blue badges were for people who had mobility disabilities. The wider bays were/are for people who need the extra space to be able to get into and out of their cars, for wheelchairs, straightening callipers or something else. Am I right to assume that everybody with a disability NEEDS extra space around their car? So, if not, why not introduce more disabled bays the same width as other bays, for those that don’t need the extra space?
BBC Radio Wales asked if I would give my thoughts regarding a new scheme being brought to government, live on air. The scheme would be a rating system, similar to the food rating scheme, where businesses are given a rating of how accessible they are. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to have been asked, so I sorted out all this information I wanted to speak about and even made notes to remind myself as the interview was going outlive. I was a little disappointed as I felt the questions asked, were a little flat and didn’t allow for me to talk about the scheme very well but, overall, as my first ever LIVE radio interview, I felt it could have been better. I need to learn how to put myself across better in future. Practice makes perfect!
The scheme itself sounds like a very positive move if given the go-ahead. It will give disabled people the opportunity to see “at-a-glance” how accessible a service provider actually is. The higher the score, the better the access. Disabled people like myself do so much pre-planning before going out their front door. I hate having to go anywhere new, it sets off my anxiety no end. I worry about so much that could go wrong. A scheme of this nature would be so beneficial, especially if it carried over onto service provider’s websites. Imagine how much easier it would be to find accessible places!!
Flying, toilets, disability! Not something airlines think of going together.
I’m due to travel on an aeroplane later in the year and one of my fears among many is what if I can’t use the toilet. My flight is 11 hours long, I can’t hold myself all that time! Ironically, another lady on Twitter is also flying in the near future and was asking if anyone knew how she could find the dimensions of the toilet on the type of plane she will be flying on. This gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how one would go about searching the dimensions of an aeroplane’s toilet.
I contacted the lady on Twitter and asked if I could help, she was pleased for any help. So I got in touch with the airline she was flying with on her behalf, via email and Facebook, I even contacted Boeing themselves. I’ve heard back from the airline saying they are in communications with the lady on Twitter. Unfortunately, it’s been confirmed that the airline does not have the information she requested, so the lady on Twitter is hoping cabin crew will take the dimensions and pass them on to her. I’ve heard nothing from Boeing. So far, trying to research this information is practically impossible. Doesn’t give me much hope for when I need the same info from whoever I’ll be flying with!
As disabled people are flying at present,
Should information of this nature not be readily available?
Why is it so difficult to obtain this kind of information directly from the airlines?
Do airlines not have a dedicated department that could deal with these types of requests?
Something all airlines should be asking themselves and then answering publically.
Now we all understand the business concept of making money but when you are clearly making changes that exclude sections of society because of said business concept, surely this can be deemed as discrimination? So why, are these airlines allowed to not only continue this behaviour but actually make the situation worse? I’ll tell you why, because disabled people are more hassle than they are worth!!! Too much effort needs to go into getting disabled people onto the planes. Airlines are doing all they can to discourage disabled people from flying!!! Oh and it’s not just disabled people, large people also are affected. People who may need 2 seats instead of 1, who also wouldn’t be able to small toilets. So why is there not more public outrage?? I’m baffled!!
What a coincidence, as I’m typing this blog, the lady on Twitter has just got back to me saying she went into the airport and spoke with the airline there and got the information she needed. Why should she have had to have done that? Why could the airline give her the info over email?
See, being disabled cost time/money and effort to get the simplest of tasks accomplished!!!!
My disability makes using a mobile phone difficult, so when a company has several versions of their app, (meaning computer, table and phone) but only has certain features available on the mobile version, it frustrates me!! I want to use their product but I can’t due to inaccessibility. What frustrates me even more, is when you try to contact said company and they blank you!!
Take Instagram, to be able to upload pictures to your account, you have to be using the mobile version. There is nowhere that I can find to be able to do this on the computer version.
Trying to find the contact us on their website is impossible. I’ve tried contacting Instagram via Twitter but seemingly I’ve faced a brick wall. So now I must look for other avenues, I feel this will not be an easy task, after all, I don’t want to come across as someone who is hounding Instagram. Not yet anyway.
As I’m sure you already know, I know a little about web designing, therefore, I know it’s pretty normal procedure that all features stories articles etc are on the computer version, then you scale-down the amount of information available for the tablet version, again, this is done for the mobile version. some web designers do it the other way round, start with the mobile version and work up to the computer desktop version. either way, it is normal to find everything on the desktop version and less on a mobile version. So you can imagine my surprise and frustration when I find I can’t upload any pictures using the desktop version.
Now before anyone bangs on about how Instagram is an app and not a website, the mobile version may well be an app (not my area of expertise) but the desktop version is a website. Therefore, there is no reason this website cannot be fully accessible and inclusive.
So, it would seem that my next project, is to get Instagram to make their website more accessible for disabled people.
Worthwhile bookmarking my website if you would like to find out if I have managed to get Instagram to make their website more inclusive.
I will keep you up-to-date!!
It would seem Instagram doesn’t like my tweets saying they are ignoring my pleas to be more inclusive for disabled people. Every time I post this image in my tweet with @instagram:
It doesn’t show up on my profile page, feed page or any of my followers feed. Yes, I have had this confirmed by one of my followers. So, have Instagram found a way to have my tweets blocked? Is it a glitch….(3 times over) I posted it 3 times and none are showing up?? I don’t know enough about Twitter to know if this is possible but by god, how sneaky it would be of them if this is what they have done……..Mind you, they are a Facebook company, so I suppose anything is possible hey!
Now, let’s be clear here, all my other tweets are showing up, just the ones where I @Instagram in my tweets, I have just put this to the test. So this would suggest they have seen my post about not being accessible and this is their response…..Lovely!!! Think it’s time to take the matter further now.
An 11-year-old boy is suing a theme park for not having a changing places toilet. Now I can see both sides of the coin here. The story goes:
On one side, you have the parents saying their son should be able to enjoy a day out like any other 11 year old and be able to use the toilet when needed. Of course, I totally agree. They explained to the theme park how their son requires a “changing places” toilet. They also explained at present, to be able to visit the theme park, they must hire a mobiloo to enable their son the day out he so loves to have.
On the other side:
The theme park has said they take inclusivity very serious and always look for feedback from disabled people to make sure what they are doing is right. Also, in light of the complaint from this lads parents, the park has supplied a mobile hoist and a changing bed in one of their large disabled toilets.
The parents have come back to the theme park saying this is not good enough as it does not meet their son’s needs.
Ok, maybe I’m just plain ignorant here but, am I right in saying a “changing places” toilet has a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink?? Does the theme park’s toilet have a hoist, changing bed, toilet and sink?? If so, then how come it doesn’t meet their son’s needs??? I’m sure someone out there will have great pleasure in enlightening me!!
So now, the parents are suing the theme park for discrimination?? Do they actually have a case?? Do you think the park has made reasonable adjustments??
Thank you for taking the time to visit my site. It took me some time to decide whether or not to create it. I have to say, there were a few up’s & down’s in the making of my site.
I have more to add in the coming months, so why not bookmark me, or leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂 Obviously if there is anything you wish to know or discuss, please do drop me a line.
I have had to re-create my website from scratch due to Adobe getting rid of their website builder programme, which I had been using. With this in mind, some of my blogs will have 2 different dates, one when I re-created the blog here on this site and another, from when I created it on my previous website.