As those of you who follow/read this blog will know, the primary purpose of my site is to share my poetry. I do, however sometimes blog about more personal matters and today is one of those rare occasions on which I shall do so.
Yesterday (Saturday 24 September) I went for my 4th Covid jab (booster). Being blind, and the vaccination centre being some distance away, a friend kindly took me in her car.
The centre was offering both the Covid booster and a flue jab for those entitled to receive one.
When it came to my turn to be vaccinated, the person giving the vaccinations asked my sighted friend why I was entitled to receive the flu jab. I answered that I am diabetic (people with diabetes are entitled to free flu jabs in the UK), and the vaccination against Covid and Flu was given.
The above incident reminded me of another case where a member of station staff asked a sighted work colleague with whom I was traveling “does he need any help?”.
In both cases the people putting the question to my companions where assuming that I was unable to speak for myself. This is a highly patronising and erroneous assumption as I and the vast majority of other disabled people are perfectly able to answer for ourselves.
Both incidents are ironic as had I been unaccompanied the individuals putting the questions would have had no alternative other than to address me directly, which is, of course as it should be.
Having visited both China and Sri Lanka, I am aware that those nations (and many other countries) do not have the facilities for people with disabilities which are available in the United Kingdom. However, this fact in no way excuses the patronising attitudes adopted by a minority of individuals. This is particularly the case in the NHS where all staff should be provided with disability awareness training.
The vast majority of those employed in the NHS do an excellent job (often under extremely difficult circumstances). However, the minority who adopt patronising attitudes needs to be addressed.
Disabled people are human beings and deserve to be treated with the same respect as are non-disabled fellow citizens.