I’ve written about poor disability awareness within the NHS in the past. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be improving. Another recent incident demonstrates once again that staff are unprepared for interacting with disabled patients.

Following my appointment with the consultant about my psoriasis, I needed my new creams added to my prescription list.  I requested this of my GP surgery the day after my appointment. I knew if I ran out of cream, my psoriasis could flare and I’d be back to square one with it. However, a month on and the new stuff still wasn’t on my record.  After making another two requests, I decided to take the prescription to the surgery again. Once there, I requested to speak to the practice manager.

Totally dismissive

Unfortunately, he was totally dismissive of me. He refused to let me finish a sentence, constantly assuming he knew what I was about to say. As a disabled person with a speech impediment, it was clear that the Practice Manager did not want to take the time to listen to me or ensure that he understood what I was saying. He repeatedly told me to calm down. I can tell you that this is very hard to take from somebody who clearly isn’t listening.

I decided to lodge a complaint which had two elements. The first being the length of time it took to get access to the new prescription. Secondly, the practice manager’s behaviour demonstrated a total lack of disability awareness. He refused to let me speak simply because he didn’t want to take the time to listen.  I was recently assisting a Speech Therapy student with her dissertation research.  She told me she’d received no disability awareness training and our conversation was her first interaction with a disabled person in the course of her studies.  Absolutely amazing.

Disability training not up to scratch

I know from several past experiences that disability awareness within the NHS is poor. The speech therapy student only confirmed what I already knew. Disability awareness training just isn’t up to scratch within the NHS. And yet, this is the very place where higher standards should be expected.

That’s why I intend to pursue my complaint as far as possible to ensure that positive changes are implemented.