Wednesday, 16 March 2011

DWP lets down disabled people - or shouldn't the places we fund let us spend a penny?

I've come up against an annoying brick wall with disability issue and I'm posting here partly in the hope that it'll prick someones conscience.

It's not an overly common problem but it's clearly one that has ramifications for some disabled people.

Some people with some types of disability need to be able to go to the loo in a bit of a hurry (I'm told that Crohns disease is an example of this but there are other conditions).  If this affects you you tend to be aware, when you are out, of where the toilets are.

You would however expect that if you were asked into a building run by the State, then the State would let you use the loo.

This, sadly, is not the case at the DWP office Cressington House (and I imagine based on the correspondence I have been involved in, other DWP offices). 

This is a building to which people are officially asked to come for assessment interviews.  There is a presumption then that some of these people will have disabilities!  You would think that a request to use the toilet would not be out of order.  But no, it seems that the building has been "risk assessed" and it is felt that it should not provide "public toilets".

One lady I have spoken to , and who raised this with me,  has become upset, embarassed and annoyed at this.  It is making her anxious about going to any interview.  The offer of "making arrangements" in advance has been made but is rather patronising (and only came after I made  fuss and e mailed a Government Minister)  You would think the State, particularly in  cases of disability, would have no problems making a toilet available for the (I expect few) times it is needed. Yet instead we have another example where a lack of flexibility means disabled people risk getting a raw deal.

I know this is hardly "hold the front page" stuff but even if it affects a very few people, it is something that needs to be put right.

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