Remploy, Royalty and a Nurse

Remploy, the company that has an active policy of employing disabled people to manufacture equipment for use by the disabled community, is losing its government support. They employ people in areas where unemployment is a significant problem for everyone, providing much-needed income and self-belief for people whose disabilities make it doubly difficult for them to find another job. I have a Remploy-built wheelchair (if you see me on my electric buggy, it’s the one I carry on the back). It’s a great wheelchair, better designed and far better built than the NHS-type I had previously. I had a chat with one of their designers at a show at the NEC a couple of years ago, and he was the only representative of a wheelchair company I met who was interested in what I liked and what I’d improve in their product, rather than trying to sell me the latest model.

The Government is saying the money spent in supporting Remploy can be spent more effectively. I would like to believe that this means their budget for disabled employment services would be used to facilitate the employment of more disabled people by non-specialist companies. But I am not aware of any plans to do so. I’m not being party-political about this – successive governments of different colours have cut disabled services on many occasions. As someone who was still in full-time employment under the previous regime, I know from personal experience how little support was available, both from my employer and any official body. The accessibility changes that were promised by Transport for London as part of the Olympics bid didn’t happen either – they were conveniently forgotten long before 2012. The bottom line is that it’s expensive to offer disabled people the same facilities as our more able-bodied peers. And our elected representatives like to make promises before they look into the costings. Then they’re faced with the difficult decision of admitting that they’re making a U-turn on their promises, or trying to sweep the inconvenient truth under a handy rug. It’s a hard life being a politician.

Speaking of a hard life – is it common for healthy young women to be admitted to hospital for a few days for morning sickness? That’s a serious question – I’ve never heard of this before. I appreciate that pregnancy seems to be viewed as an illness more than it was when I was the Duchess of Cambridge’s age. But this is genuinely the first time I’ve been aware of morning sickness being so severe that the sufferer had to spend a couple of days under medical supervision. I’ve been sent home from hospital after an operation when I really don’t think I was well enough (and was advised that my GP felt that I should have been kept in for much longer), which I believe was due to the pressure on hospitals. Are we now freeing up NHS beds for women inflicted with the terrible illness of hyperemesis gravidarum?

And a couple of Australian DJs think it’s funny to make a prank phone call to the hospital and see what they can find out. I’m not going to name them, they’re getting plenty of publicity already from their irresponsible behaviour (which it would have been illegal to broadcast if the call had been to a number in their own country). But I will mention the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, who took their phone call. It was 5:30 am here in the UK when the phone rang and she answered the call, putting the supposed members of our royal family through to another nurse to ask their questions about their patient’s condition.

And now she’s dead.

The Police are not treating Jacintha’s death as suspicious. So we assume they’re treating it as a suicide.

Meanwhile the press and bookies are taking bets on what the new royal baby will be named. Personally, I’m hoping it’s a girl and they name her Jacintha out of respect for an innocent victim of a cruel hoax.

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