Readers’ letters - July 20

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Before judging, remember not all disabilities are visible

Anyone seen leaving a disabled toilet who is not in a wheelchair, or showing any other signs of a limited ability to walk, can often be the subject of a disapproving look, or even of verbal abuse.

What some people fail to realise is that not every disability is visible, as is the case with anyone whose bodily waste exits the body via a surgically created opening, called a stoma. The waste is collected in a specially designed disposable bag, which needs to be emptied, and there may also be occasions when a leak occurs, necessitating speedy remedial action. Changing a stoma bag in a clean, spacious environment is essential to avoid infection.

Many people will have heard of a colostomy or an ileostomy, both life-saving stomas for anyone with a severe bowel condition.

Few, however, will have heard of a urostomy, the most common outcome for conditions requiring removal of the bladder.

Using a disabled toilet is a right for anyone with a stoma, but even then, conditions are often not ideal and most facilities need to be improved. There should also be a sign on the door, making it clear that not every disability is immediately apparent.

For over 45 years, our UK-wide charity, The Urostomy Association, has been supporting anyone with any form of urinary diversion. Somehow, problems associated with the disposal of urine are still the subject of an out-dated taboo mentality, and one of our biggest challenges is raising the awareness of the needs of an estimated 10,000 of the UK population who are affected by this.

The next time you feel like challenging someone who is not in a wheelchair leaving a disabled toilet– think again!

Brian Fretwell

Chairman of the National Executive Committee
Hazel Pixley
 National Secretary
The Urostomy Association

Tory Government forces situation

It was with interest that I read your report (An extra £24k is found for ‘executive support’, WP July 17).

You advise that Tory leader Coun Michael Winstanley has questioned the financial merits of awarding an extra £8,232 each to three newly appointed ‘lead members’.

Paradoxically, he is also reported to have said that he is not opposed, in principle, to the creation of the posts. So, how would he have created them then?

Coun Winstanley also says, “We have got to save £42m over the next few years”. By “we” he means Wigan Council. However, this Tory councillor doesn’t make any reference to the fact that it is a Tory government which is forcing this situation.

The councillor also says, “I don’t think that creating three new positions is the right thing to do to reduce the deficit”. Well...whoever was suggesting that the posts had been created to reduce the deficit?

By the way, what deficit?

Are not the council’s books balanced? As a member of the Audit and Governance Committee, he ought to know!

It may interest readers of The Wigan Post to learn that an additional allowance is also paid to Coun Winstanley himself. The allowance is for ‘leading the opposition’.

The Tories are the second largest group in the council chamber. Having said that though, there are only four more of them, in addition to the councillor himself.

Coun Michael McLoughlin

Labour

Wigan Central Ward

Help for stroke survivors

Stroke is devastating, changing people’s lives in the blink of an eye. The condition is a leading cause of disability, and many survivors and their families’ financial situations are severely affected. Our means-tested Life After Stroke Grants help stroke survivors and their families.

Life After Stroke Grants provide a one-off payment of up to £300 to fund vital home or personal equipment, or support. Applications must be applied for via the Stroke Association, by a health or social care professional, or another charity. Call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100, visit stroke.org.uk/grants or email us at grants.external@stroke.org.uk.

Chris Larkin

The Stroke Association