I had been looking forward to my trip to London for APPG for muscular Dystrophy and the Westminster Hall debate and the discussion on air travel, and the trip proved just as exciting as I anticipated. I began my day bright and early, and after a somewhat eventful journey which included travelling back and forth on the Tube due to a broken lift, and getting stuck in another lift, I finally made it to the House of Commons! The staff were extremely helpful, and took me straight to the meeting room I needed to be in, and despite a couple of minor transport difficulties I made it with time to spare.
Once there the meeting chaired by baroness Thomas of Winchester proved more reassuring than anticipated. Whilst some questions and answers had potential of becoming somewhat convoluted I was pleasantly surprised by the way in which the Chair handled such answers, bringing them to a level everyone could easily understand. In the meeting we were reassured that clear pathways would be created to allow service users to continue to be provided with a service appropriate for them, in a way which should do so more accurately and effectively. It was also highlighted that GPS will all be provided with individuals care plans and made aware of each persons conditions. On a higher support level, each region will be given a specification which they will have to comply to in order to assure funding. This aims to result in the provision of appropriate and easily accessible services being provided through a team of medical professionals who hold a clear understanding of muscular dystrophy and related conditions.
After this meeting we went on to to the debate on air travel. The vast majority of MPs made very encouraging contributions to the discussion, highlighting the issues that are faced by many people with disabilities, when travelling. It was lovely to hear how understanding the MPs were about the issue – obviously some for example David Blunkett had first hand experience of the issues surrounding travel, however everyone seemed to put forward very encouraging views, welcoming more accessible travel. At this point I feel it completely necessary to mention David Blunkett’s story involving travelling difficulties: once when travelling him, his wife, and his guide dog were all allocated separated seats, to which he commented would be difficult enough for himself and his wife, but possibly more difficult to those who had to sit next to his guide dog! Said guide dog was in the meeting and his head repetitively popped up above the table in order to take a look at the room before him!
The day was busy, but I think it really does demonstrate the way in which our campaigns can progress. The way in which an APPG meeting brought us to a debate in which even the transport minister was involved, portrays the potential our campaigns have; and the positivity everyone holds towards them, gives us hope for continuing progression in the future.