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Why we must change people’s perceptions

DISABILITY campaign group Breakthrough UK says that society currently devalues disabled people – and that they are being attacked through the Government’s welfare reform agenda.

The organisation, which has offices in Manchester and Liverpool, has undertaken research to ensure that disabled adults’ views remain central to guiding the ongoing “Right to Life” debate.

Breakthrough UK’s acting chief executive Michele Scattergood said: “This research could not be more timely.

“We wish to ensure that policy makers at every level are fully informed about the way that disabled people feel about the fundamental issues which now impact on their lives from start to finish.

“At the start of life, disabled people may experience problems in fertility services and new genetic treatments bring with them ethical issues about the prevention of impairment.

“And there has been an increased awareness of the inequality surrounding end of life care.

“Disabled people’s voices in this emotive and important ongoing debate have previously gone largely unheard and our findings are intended to address this imbalance.”

Disabled professionals and academics shaped the research by sharing their personal experiences and expertise about the challenges facing them in 21st century Britain.

These findings are now being made available to policy makers in Government while also being used to help organisations ensure that their Equality Scheme Action Plans – which aim to ensure that everyone is treated fairly – are fully informed.

Leading disability campaigner Sir Bert Massie – formerly Chair of the Disability Rights Commission – said: “The most basic human right is the right to live.

“We need to move with the utmost caution in agreeing to any change in law that might threaten society’s resolve to treasure the lives of disabled people.

“Breakthrough UK’s Policy Think Tank is immensely important at this time – it provides a platform and space for disabled academics and professionals to discuss critical disability issues.

“Society must be prepared to discuss the issues surrounding pre-birth and end of life fully and frankly if it is to progress in an appropriate manner for the 21st century.”


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