Contact details

As well as being a freelance writer I am also a qualified counsellor and I work for a low cost counselling service in Exeter and for the NHS Gender Clinic also in Exeter.

Simultaneously, I work as a Disability Member of the First Tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber sitting on disability benefit tribunals on an ad hoc basis.

As a writer I specialise in writing about disability and health.

My articles have been published in the Guardian, Times, OUCH! [BBC disability website], Disability Now, Broadcast, Lifestyle [Motability magazine], The Practising Midwife, 'Junior, Pregnancy & Baby', Writers' News, Able, Getting There [Transport for London magazine], Junior, Community Care, DPPi [Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International]. I have also had articles commissioned by Daily Mail.

For more information about me and for examples of my writing please see below.

If you would like me to write an article for your publication, about any aspect of disability, please do get in touch:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Disability and the 2011 Census

I got my census yesterday and it was all very straighforward until I got to question 23 - Are your day to day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?

My first problem with this question is that health problems and disability have been lumped together. Having a disability doesn't necessarily mean you have a health problem and visa versa.

My second problem was the utter subjectivity of the answer options:
yes, limited a lot
yes, limited a little

Well I knew no wasn't the right answer but does my disability limit me a lot or a little? I found that impossible to answer. Am I just supposed to use my own judgement, am I supposed to be comparing myself to others or should I be answering with a view to the fact that they are supposed to be using the results to plan services?

Why on earth couldn't they just be direct about it as they were with the ethnicity and religion questions?:

Do you have a health problem, yes or no?
If yes, is it heart related, asthma, cancer etc?

Do you have a disability, yes or no?
If yes, it is a mobility, visual, learning etc disability?

It just makes me think that they aren't in the slightest bit interested in collecting any useful information or statistics about disability at all because given the question they just won't get any useful/accurate information it's just too woolly and subjective.