Health Inequalities and Disabled Black people

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2004 National Disabled Members' Conference
1 October 2004

Conference is concerned about inequality inequalities in health service provision for disabled black people.

We welcome proposed changes to the Disability Discrimination Act to provide protection from discrimination to people diagnosed with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis. However we are concerned that inadequate health service provision for disabled black people could result in disadvantage to those attempting to return to work without prosthetic support.

In particular, we are disturbed about reports that the NHS wig service does not offer an appropriate range of facilities to accommodate the cosmetic needs of some disabled black people. We have received some disturbing reports that the wig service does not reflect our members’ ethnic identities. Evidence suggests that some of our members have had to travel unreasonable distances and deal with additional personal financial cost in order that they can be provided with appropriate headwear following the balding affects of treatment. These members’ recovery is affected by the additional demands placed on them during periods of recovery and rehabilitation and this has had an effect on members’ return to work plans, their sickness absence records and their opportunity to resume involvement in their trade union duties.

Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to work with the National Black Members’ Committee, the National Executive Council and UNISON’s Parliamentary Group to lobby government to ensure that health inequalities are eradicated and that health service provision is tailored to reflect the UK’s cultural identity.