NHS wheelchair reforms are taking too long, say campaigners

  • 18 May 2015
A doctor pushing a wheelchair

Wheelchair users have criticised progress made by NHS England in improving services.

Last year NHS England launched the Wheelchair Services Improvement Programme after acknowledging they were not good enough.

Since February 2014, two summits have been held and working groups have been set up. The NHS has also formed a group that will campaign for a better wheelchair service, called the Wheelchair Leadership Alliance.

Sir Bert Massie, former chairman of the Disability Rights Commission which advised the previous Labour government on equality legislation for disabled people, has said he cannot see any improvements to services as a result.

"There's now a much wider range of wheelchairs available than there was 40 years ago," he says. "But the problem of getting an assessment quickly, and a wheelchair that meets your needs quickly, is still very hit and miss and depends on where you live."

Bert Massie
Sir Bert Massie describes the service as "hit and miss"

Read full article NHS wheelchair reforms are taking too long, say campaigners

Has The Tribe changed what a deaf film can be?

  • 14 May 2015

A film opening in the UK this week changes perceptions of what a deaf film can be, writes Charlie Swinbourne.

The Tribe is a Ukrainian film, directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, set in a deaf boarding school where everyone communicates in sign language. When a teenager joins the school, he wins acceptance into a network dealing in crime and prostitution. But when he breaks the unwritten rules of the tribe, his future is threatened.

Read full article Has The Tribe changed what a deaf film can be?

The dogs who work two jobs for their disabled owners

  • 13 May 2015
Tony with Hetty getting washing out the machine

There are guide dogs, and there are assistance dogs but, to help people who are blind as well as physically disabled, some dogs are trained to be both.

Tony Brown-Griffin from Kent uses her guide dog Hetty to help her get her children to and from school, to attend community events and do other day-to-day tasks. As well as being registered blind she has epilepsy and has, on average, one major seizure every week.

Read full article The dogs who work two jobs for their disabled owners

The struggle to find work when you have Down's syndrome

  • 8 May 2015

Fewer than two in 10 people with learning disabilities are in employment. For people with Down's syndrome, it can leave them demoralised - but are things changing?

"I have a friend with [Down's syndrome] who actually pays someone £40 just so they can do his gardening [for him]," says Kate Brackley.

Read full article The struggle to find work when you have Down's syndrome

The bittersweet world of mental health online

  • 6 May 2015
Kim Kardashian

A new film executive-produced by Kim Kardashian examines social media and mental health, but being a mentally ill person who's active online can be a bittersweet experience, says Charlotte Walker who has bipolar disorder.

Titled #RedFlag, Kim Kardashian's new film highlights how common mental health problems are, and how social media can help. As Kardashian said recently, not everyone has a real life support network and this is where social media can step in to provide a place for people to "express their depression, loneliness, and isolation".

Read full article The bittersweet world of mental health online

People with learning disabilities 'targeted by groomers'

  • 5 May 2015
Generic young woman
Young women with learning disabilities need support so they can keep themselves safe

As police chiefs and disability groups warn people with learning disabilities are at risk of being targeted by groomers, "Sarah" tells her story.

It's a gorgeous warm evening in the South West of England and Sarah - not her real name - has a date. She's wearing a summery skirt and top. She's strikingly pretty.

Read full article People with learning disabilities 'targeted by groomers'

'Building a friendship with the man who saved my life'

  • 3 May 2015
Jonny on Waterloo Bridge

Last year I was reunited with the man who stopped me from taking my own life.

It had been six years since I travelled to a bridge in central London with the intention of jumping off.

Read full article 'Building a friendship with the man who saved my life'

Viewpoint: My Twitter battle with the people behind the beach body ad

  • 28 April 2015
Juliette Burton

A protein supplement company has come under fire for its "beach body ready" ad campaign featuring a bikini-clad model. Performer and body image campaigner Juliette Burton is one of those who took issue with it. When she tweeted the company, she was surprised and hurt by the response.

The past few days have been the "maddest" I've had in a long time. And I use that word extremely carefully. I know madness.

Read full article Viewpoint: My Twitter battle with the people behind the beach body ad

Viewpoint: Across China by wheelchair

  • 26 April 2015
James on the Great Wall of China

James Ballardie is a wheelchair user who has been travelling the world without planning an accessible path through it. And it was all going pretty well until he reached China.

My girlfriend and I have been travelling across the world for 11 months. We've been through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, the USA, Japan and South Korea, and so far it's been remarkably straightforward.

Read full article Viewpoint: Across China by wheelchair

Why I came out as a disabled journalist

  • 22 April 2015
nick

As a journalist, I've run away from gunfire, I've clambered over earthquake rubble and I've even managed to make it up a few red carpets.

But I've kept my disability quiet for so long that even writing this feels as if I'm coming out of the closet - until now I've always been worried about what people might think.

Read full article Why I came out as a disabled journalist