As Founder of the Registered Charity Mobility and Support Information Service I was delighted to be invited by See No Bounds to write this article.
As many people associated with See No Bounds as well as the readers of the organisation’s very informative e-bulletins will already be aware Jamie, Charlott and a small team of associates will be climbing to Base Camp Everest (pandemic restrictions permitting) in May 2022. I think readers will agree that such a venture is no mean feat especially as base camp is at an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,600 metres) and I would like to wish the team every success in their venture. Consequently, why I thought the title I have given to this article was most appropriate.
However, I am not referring to the mountains and rock formations which exist on planet Earth, I am referring to the many ‘mountains’ and ‘barriers’ which disabled people are confronted by and have to overcome within their daily lives so that they can enjoy as many as possible of the same opportunities and experiences which non-disabled individuals take for granted.
Taking appropriate actions and measures to improve existing levels of social inclusion and equality of disabled people enhances their wellbeing and helps them to lead more independent lifestyles. Such basic needs should be among the ‘ingredients’ of the ‘medicine’ taken to help boost independence and in turn break down the many barriers and hurdles within the daily lives of disabled people and where they apply those which are also experienced by their carers and family members.
Improving equality and inclusion is NOT ‘ROCKET SCIENCE’ it is pure common sense but regrettably they are issues which are all too often ignored and overlooked.
What must never be forgotten is that disabled people represent about 20% of the UK’s population with similar percentages existing in other regions of the world such as Western Europe and the USA. A disability or disabilities can come in many forms and I have included physical, sensory, intellectual, mental health and age-related conditions within this statement. However, what is important to acknowledge is that the annual spending power of families with one disabled member is in excess of £250 billion per annum.
I suggest that in order to obtain details of the overall impact of disability in the UK readers research internet results for ‘THE PURPLE POUND’. Details given reveal many concerning and disturbing facts which further emphasise the need to vastly improve societies and address the many and varied requirements of disabled people and their families.
INDEPENDENT LIVING is a very topical subject which is receiving a lot of attention at present from central, regional and local government sources, especially those allied to the health and social care sectors. Appropriately adapted homes and accommodation suitable for disabled and elderly people are in short supply. Consequently, if a disabled or elderly person is requiring admission into hospital for acute care treatments there is a greater chance of them being subjected to a longer than necessary stay, and they are regarded as ‘super-stranded’ patients.
It is concerning to realise that the costs imposed by ‘super-stranded’ patients on NHS England alone exceeds £1 billion per annum. If private and social housing developments were designed in such a way in the future to address accessibility issues, then this would undoubtedly help reduce potential financial stresses on NHS services and also improve levels of independent living which in turn helps to address the social inclusion of disabled people within their communities.
By visiting www.masis.org.uk readers will see the very clear message displayed on the homepage. ‘FOR INCLUSION AND EQUALITY’. To enable this to happen their needs to be greater levels of networking between service providers, commercial companies and the ‘not for profit’ sectors. MASIS is especially keen to develop such relationships and always has been since it received Registered Charity status in 2012. By establishing such mutually beneficial relationships is one of the key elements in creating improved lifestyles and wellbeing of disabled people and their families.