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I rely on the hospital hydrotherapy pool for my arthritis

Location: UK » South West » TQ

I got rheumatoid arthritis when I was 19 – so all the way through, I’ve been under the care of rheumatology departments. I’ve been put on a very expensive new drug. It’s been pretty life-changing for me. [People overseas] have to try and convince their insurance companies that it’s worth funding that particular drug – whereas here in the UK, if you qualify medically, you get the drug pretty much. The thing that really worries a lot of people with chronic illnesses is that if this thing with [needing to buy private health] insurance comes in, there would be no insurance that I could get.

The hydrotherapy pool [at Torbay Hospital and threatened with closure] is fantastic. You’ve got really warm water and it gives you the freedom to move about. One of the things about arthritis is that if you’re having a flareup, you kind of sit rigidly and everything’s in pain. To get in a warm supported environment where you can relax and move around is a pain relief in itself.

There was a questionnaire going round to the patients who were using hydrotherapy. It asked [questions like] – how far would you be prepared to travel for hydrotherapy services?

[Then] they pinned up on the noticeboard [at the hydrotherapy pool] a list of public pools that [people could use instead]. A member of our group went around to all of the [public] pools and wrote a report about how it was absolutely impossible for disabled people to make use of these pools… there were steps going down into [some of the] pools, there were no handrails, there were no hoists to get people into the pools, the water was too cold, the changing rooms were totally unsuitable – it’s just absolute nonsense to say that people with disabilities can use these public pools.

[Full interview at http://www.katebelgrave.com/2012/07/people-on-the-frontline-of-austerity-britain-part-two-the-south/ ]


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