Thursday, 6 September 2012

Stop Using the Medical Model as a Blunt Instrument

“The easiest way to check for cheats is to check hospital records for continued attendance to a consultant, pain clinic or whatever the persons disability and their respctive hospital department the cheat wont have these records will they as they will never have attended ,”

The above statement was taken from a response to an article on: "Free Conference – Outsourcing and Austerity: Civil Society and the Coalition Government" on the Hardest Hit Website, and in my view is a very ‘medical model’ take on disability, presupposing that ‘genuine’ disability can only be measured by medical means; as though medicine has all the answers to disability.

There are lots of conditions that don’t necessarily respond to medical treatment; or can be treated by routine visits to a GP. If a person has a condition that has stabilised or reached a point where medical intervention, at consultant and hospital level, is no longer required, then what is the point of them visiting hospital?

Many disabled people get on with their lives without a continuous round of consultant appointments, visits to clinics or respective hospital departments. A person does not have to be perpetually ‘under’ a consultant to qualify as disabled or indeed to qualify for benefits such as DLA.

Regular visits to a GP can keep people abreast of the medical side of their conditions. If and when conditions worsen the GP can then refer the person to a hospital consultant.

Conflating the issues of a need for medical intervention with the needs of disabled people only serves to reinforce the medicalization of disability and does not recognise the fact that disability cannot be measured in medical terms alone.

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