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:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living with the fear factor - Disability Now article

Hot off the press is my article about the fears disabled parents and parents of disabled children have about 'welfare reform' [see below for link].  

There's a photo of David Cameron being passed around on Facebook at the moment, the headline is:  'Don't Panic' then under the photo of him it says 'If we haven't fu*ked you over yet... you are all on my list'.  

Unfortunately disabled people seem to be very high up on that list.  As one contributor to the article said to me '"it's a very bad time to be disabled right now" and once these welfare reforms AKA benefit cuts properly kick in it's looking likely that things will get a whole lot worse.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The return of institutionalisation for disabled people?

Baroness Jane Campbell has just alerted me to a very worrying proposal being considered by Worcestershire County Council and if she's worried about it we all should be.

Basically Worcestershire CC want to put a cap on the amount of money they spend on disabled people living independently in the community.  The cap would be the amount of money it would cost for that same person to live in a care home.

So, if your care costs more than the cost of a care home you either have to cover the extra costs yourself [at a time when the government is looking to strip away as many benefits as they can], source help from friends/family/neighbours/charities or compromise on the care package you need.  Otherwise you move into a care home.

It may come as a surprise to some but there are many disabled people who live independently, quite happily in the community but the level of support they receive could well cost more than a care home and therefore under these proposals they could well end up being shunted into a care home because they have no alternative.

Doesn't this all sound vaguely like doing the opposite of what we've been aiming to do over the past few decades, 'care in the community' and all that?

It just feels like this government is trying to strip away and strip away whatever we have - money, independence, dignity.  Are we really going to go back to the whole 'out of sight out of mind' thing?

Is this really happening in 2012?

To read more:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ian Brady - time to let go?

The case of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady has lingered in the public domain for decades.  Their hideous crimes, murdering five children in the 60s, are hard to forget and impossible to forgive.

Myra Hindley died in jail in 2002 when she was 60.

Brady, now 74, was jailed in 1966 and detained at Ashworth Hospital, a high security psychiatric hospital, since 1985.  He has been on successive  hunger strikes since 1999 in attempt to kill himself and has been tube fed for the last 12 years as he refuses food.  He now wants to be transferred to prison and be allowed to die. 

Having just had a seizure it's possible that Brady is 'on his way out' but if he recovers from his current health predicament should he be transferred and be allowed to die?  Has he served his time or is there no such thing as serving your time when you have done such appalling crimes?  How much is our feeling about this case complicated by the intensity of its media profile and does that affect our judgement of it in a way that it doesn't with cases that have received less attention?

What's always fascinated me is the balance between 'mad', 'bad' and 'dangerous' - where does Brady fall within this balance and does this affect anything?  Probably.

I can't help wondering whether he should be granted his wish provided he puts the mother of Keith Bennett, one of the children he murdered, out of her misery and tell her where he buried his body.  At least that would bring her closure after all these years.  Is there any part of Brady that is humane enough to do that for her if he does know/still remember?