Saturday, 19 November 2011

Prisoners have more rights than disabled people

Yesterday saw 2 cases brought before the courts by convicted killers for breach of their human rights because of the use of "slopping out". In other words they had been expected to use buckets which were later emptied rather than being taken to the toilet.

I totally agree that this practise is upsetting and degrading. But it is no worse than what is expected of thousands of disabled people up and down the country. Unlike convicted killers however, disabled people have no recourse to the courts. Their human rights are not deemed to be breached in any way.

As budgets are stretched to the limit and social services cut back on care more and more, disabled people are expected to use commodes in their own homes in between visits between carers. This is the equivalent to "slopping out", except that it is fully condoned by social services. Worse, some disabled people who cannot use them have been told they have to soil themselves and be cleaned up when the next carer arrives. I put that this is a far greater breach of human rights.

The blatant disregard for disabled people was all too evident in the landmark case of ex ballerina Elaine McDonald. Her night time care was removed as it was deemed too expensive. Unable to use a commode herself, she was instead issued with incontinence pads. Now this lady is NOT incontinent. But she was expected to wet herself and be cleaned up in the morning. She took her case to court but it found in favour of social services. The supreme court judge Lady Hale who was against the ruling was extremely "troubled" by the finding. But that is of little comfort to Elaine and disabled people across the country who now fear similar actions by their own social services.

In other words, when it comes to disabled people, it is not a breach of their human rights to expect them to soil themselves if it is financially advantageous. It is different when it comes to convicted murderers however, if they are expected to use the equivalent of a commode.


  1. Marvellously well put!! In Ireland, you have to have a bowel movement during your carer's a.m/p.m hour long visit; or stay in it. Disabled literally means in valid.

  2. Hello all.

    You all know me already, but I'm posting anonymously because I want to tell you that my elderly mother, suffering from pps is in a similar position. Giant nappies are provided, thoughtfully.

    I'm too ill myself, and live half way across the country, to be able to help care for her...