Author Topic: Public transport and the disabled  (Read 298 times)

Fiz

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Public transport and the disabled
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:59:34 AM »
I'm going to London today to a stakeholders meeting about possible changes to the Mental Health Act and the assessments that use the Act. I feel VERY strongly that the nearest relative rules need changing to protect the patient hence wanting to go.

I'm nervous about the whole day but the hardest part of the day will be the return journey as it will be a peak rush hour train with up to half the passengers standing. Pain kicks in for me after less than 5 minutes and increases rapidly. The thought of the 90 minute journey standing feels like my worst nightmare, it would leave me incapacitated for days. I phoned the rail company to ask if I could reserve a seat but this rail company doesn't have a reserved seat facility. I asked how much it would be to upgrade to first class (the government are refunding me the standard rate fare) but was told that the first class section of one carriage is fully booked by season ticket holders. The man tells me that in every carriage there is at least one seat, sometimes two, that are marked please give up this seat if a disabled person needs it. I'm taking my card that says I am registered disabled to show people if necessary. But the man on the phone says despite the signs being there, it is only discretionary and no rail staff could force anyone to move out of the seat if they don't want to move.

So I am absolutely terrified of the repercussions if I don't manage to get a seat on the way home. It's disgraceful really that they don't provide seats guaranteed for the disabled to use.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Public transport and the disabled
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 01:49:33 PM »
I hope you got home ok.

For a short while in the past (quite a few years ago now) I commuted to London by train with a season ticket.  The season ticket holders used to try to baggsy seats for the other regulars.  To some that may seem mean, but to us it seemed fair that those getting the train every day not for a day out should have a seat so we could work at a table.  If I couldn't get a seat, I generally sat on the floor.  For comparison, if I can't get a seat on a bus, I generally sit on the stairs or on the step leading up to the back seats downstairs.  But not everyone's ok to sit on the floor.

It's difficult because people can start to ask 'what's disabled' when it comes to priority seating.  I have a 'disabled' bus pass but I get it because I've got bipolar disorder and have 4+ mood swings a year so I'm not eligible for a driving licence any more.  (Not sure why four's the threshold.)  Anyway, why I need a seat is only indirectly connected with that, i.e. because of the effects of the neurotoxicity of the medication.  Quite bluntly, I wave my disabled pass around to justify needing a seat.  Basically it's a con doing it that way, but what's the alternative?  A long explanation, or maybe keep standing and let people see me fall over?

But if you look at the proportion of the population that's genuinely disabled and then look at what proportion of those genuinely need priority for a seat, I'd have thought it would be a minority.  Lots of impairments lead to very significant disability whether you define it according to the social model or the medical model, but that doesn't mean that the majority give rise to the need for a seat.

How one overcomes that, I don't know.  In my case, I've practised various phrases for use on buses, e.g. "Excuse me, do you need that seat or may I have it?  I have balance problems and fall over on buses." or "Excuse me, are you disabled or unwell at the moment, or may I have that seat?" or "Is there anyone that doesn't need their seat?  I have a balance problem and need to sit down."  Not easy, though.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Re: Public transport and the disabled
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 08:50:06 PM »
Hi Fiz,
I hope you got there and back without too much hassle  >bighugs<

Fiz

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Re: Public transport and the disabled
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2018, 07:26:54 PM »
Very fortunate to get to Waterloo to catch the 17.05 train home so managed to get a seat though it was standing room only by departure time. The 18.05 would have been impossible. Despite what I was told on the phone I didn't see any seats marked for the use of people with disabilities. I've been in severe pain since though, as well as my patches I took two 100mg sustained released tramadol on the day one as I left in the morning,  the second at the venue. I took Oramorph when I arrived at the venue and then more once on the train at Waterloo waiting for the train to depart home and at that time took two 50mg tramadol immediate release tablets too. I managed to get back from my town's station to my home because of that but that was the last of my pain meds although I'm up to date with the patches I'm wearing. So I've been on bed rest yesterday and today just recovering and moving is too painful. I've slept a lot today.

In October last year Theresa May called for a review of the Mental Health Act, how it's use could be reduced and how we could improve the experience of it for service users and carers. So I went to the Stakeholders meeting to discuss this at a conference centre next to the British Medical Association near Russell Square. It was chaired by Simon Wessely he used to be the head of the Royal Society of psychiatrists but now remains as a director there and is heading up this review with a group of MP's at Westminster. There was Richard Kelly, head of secretariat who was at our circular table for a while. At my table there was a junior doctor working within a GP practice seeing the patients in the practice who require psychiatric care, there was a (lovely) psychologist, a manager of an AMHP team, a relative/carer of a service user and  2 current service users including me and a previous service user now an advocate. So quite a mix. Simon Wessely left slightly before the end of the meeting as he was due to meet with the group of MP's at Westminster.

It was unanimous amongst the service users in the whole hall that the nearest relative rule has to go. Legislation cannot decide in law who must be contacted prior to a MHAA when that person may be totally the wrong person for that role. Them Contacting my eldest had him write me out of his life and refusing contact with my grandchild so I endorsed that. How to make the assessment easier, I suggested that instead of having the nearest relative rule, that the service user could provide the details of a "named person" who has agreed to be a point of contact should the service user be in crisis. If there was to be an assessment that named person should be invited to attend so they can provide emotional support and a comforting presence and be an extra pair of ears to hear what's said because service users in crisis have cognitive thinking problems very often. Or at least I do.

I took the mic and fed back points made at our group table to the whole hall. I feel daftly proud that I managed to get to London and to take an active part in the review of the mental health act. But it has left me in a lot of pain and I'm emotionally drained and am very tearful. I was supposed to see my GP today but there's no way I could have got there. I've been in bed yesterday and today. Hopefully my back pain will have eased by tomorrow. It normally takes me 48 hours of bed rest for pain to ease after walking anywhere but I am prepared for the possibility that the pain might not go as quickly as normal as I don't normally leave the town I live in let alone go to London and use the tube etc. I'm knackered.

huhn

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Re: Public transport and the disabled
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 07:42:17 PM »
Fiz well done >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs< >hugs<