I am going to be a bit contrary as regards the BBC story about the amputee who was refused a Blue Badge in Cornwall. (AAD Facebook and BBC News) .
The man in question has Diabetes, and firstly lost his toes then his leg below the knee. I would urge all our readers to read the article by Aberdeen City Podiatry Department on our blog about Diabetic Foot Screening and its importance in keeping our feet healthy and preventing the loss of toes or lower limbs.
The first thing that many people would feel is outrage, that an amputee has been refused a Blue Badge apparently by an unthinking uncompassionate bureaucrat in the local council who has no idea about disability.
This man held a Blue Badge for three years before he had his lower leg amputated. He had previously lost his toes. Losing toes makes one unbalanced and mobility is badly affected. He is reported as needing a full door width that a Disabled parking Bay affords to Blue Badge Holders, in order that he swings his leg out of the car.
This is where I will get a bit contrary to the normal view as I can actually see why the council have refused a Blue Badge.
The criteria for a Blue Badge are not about how wide you need a parking space in order to swing a leg out. A number of years back, being able to walk at least 40 metres was what one had to be able to walk. Then the criteria were tightened up through National Rules, and Scotland also applies those same criteria, which include the distance of being able to walk being cut to around 20 metres. That in itself was a big blow to the disabled, but was seen by Government as only helping those who were very severely disabled.
Many people, who are fitted with leg prosthetics, take part in Disability Sports, Paralympics, climbing; running or indeed find that their quality of life can improve because of a well –fitted and modern prosthetic.
So if the Blue Badge were just about being able to use an extra-wide parking bay, then what about side loading or rear–loading vehicles that have ramps for a wheelchair? They often get blocked by inconsiderate drivers who park illegally in bays anyway, or park too close to the rear of the vehicle and prevent access.
I have no idea if the man in question sought advice before applying for his Blue Badge. One has to assume he did not because in essence, if he had sought advice on what the criteria were, and had spoken to his local disability advisor, the outcome might have been different.
So, yes, if he improved his walking after amputation through the fitting of a modern prosthetic then he does not qualify if he can “walk” more than 20 metres. Harsh and apparently an injustice for many people, but those are the rules we have to live with..
There are various articles in our blog about Blue Badge application. To view them all use the search box on the right of the web page, and type in Blue Badge. Here is one I wrote earlier.
Before you begin the process of application for a Blue Badge, contact our Office, for advice on completing the forms.