Like many disabled people, as we get older, I find myself saying “I can no longer ….” This ranges from getting out of a low chair, climbing stairs etc to going on a protest march and storming barricades. (well to be fair, I never actually did that, which is probably why we haven’t had a revolution in Thanet…)
But instead of mourning our lost abilities I think disabled people should try to think in terms of I STILL CAN!
Through Access Thanet, I can still go on making a fuss about the problems in our towns that hamper disabled people – lifts are the least of it! Our streets are full of hazards for wheel chairs and stick users – pot holes, uneven pavements, broken dropped kerbs, NO dropped kerbs, beach walk ways that are traps when they end in soft sand. Etc, etc
With Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK) I can still take a chair and sit with my placards in some significant spot. I was outside QEQM hospital last week campaigning to get the NHS properly funded and NHS workers paid properly. SONIK goes every week as part of our continuous campaign for our hospital and we gets loads of support from passing traffic and hospital staff.
I, like many disabled people, are very dependent on a properly functioning NHS.
I need a new metal hip joint. My current left hip is 30 years and is wearing out fast. My bones are arranged in such a creative way, thanks to polio and gravity, that only a specialist orthopaedic hospital can even look at it. But when I went for a recent check-up, I was asked continually if I could “cope” and when we talked about the possible risks – stroke, increased disability, death – “you might get covid in hospital” came as the final blow. I realised that the NHS is trying to keep admissions to a minimum. If I can go on “coping” until after the pandemic, that might release some capacity for the extra patients they are all fearing might materialise in the “third wave”.
I don’t know how many people are waiting for treatment. People like me don’t show up on waiting lists because we’re not yet on them! But I do know that a lot of people are facing increasing pain and disability because our hospitals have been taken up with either dealing with covid patients or having to take many extra precautions through vastly increased risk of infection.
And I also know many staff are leaving, worn out by over work and mean pay policies.
So saving the NHS is vital. And by saving I mean not just making it easier and safer for people with serious problems.
Our NHS is dying from from lack of funds
It’s dying from privatisation
It’s dying from over centralisation – moving our stroke unit to Ashford is just too far.
The only way to stop it is to protest. And I can still do that!
Join me – while you still can.
Find events organised by Save Our NHS in Kent here https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurNHSKent/
Christine Tongue is a Broadstairs resident and member of disability campaign group Access Thanet