"Is the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital discriminating?"

About: The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (Stanmore)

(as the patient),

I attended a 3 week in patient pain management course at the RNOH, London in May 2006. While on the course a psychologist saw my husband & I together as my "pain" affected both of us. Because my husband is in constant pain from a serious slipped disc this psychologist told my husband to apply to get on the same course as he needed it, desperately. It took 5 months of arguing to get the PCT to fund this treatment & my GP got a letter from his consultant agreeing that he needed to go on the course. My husband attended an assessment at the RNOH prior to admission in March this year. He was pulled out of the group introduction which explains what the course is about because "he had attended with me 13 months earlier"; as if he could remember. You are supposed to be assessed by a member of the team; psychologist, physio or OT but he was seen by a ward sister who I did not believe had any direct involvement with the course while I was on it. I believe her assessment is then seen by ALL the team & you are then invited to attend or declined by letter.

This sister told my husband while in the assessment that he could not attend and I felt she refused to answer why she had made the decision on her own. I recall her saying the course is designed to "push you out of your comfort zone & he would not be able to cope with that". We complained to the CEO of the RNOH & his report to us contained in our view inaccurate facts about what had been said at the assessment. We finally got an admission that the team had discussed my husband prior to his assessment which we understood was (because my husband has autism).

The CEO ended the complaints procedure there but after we pushed he agreed to a face to face meeting. This went well & he agreed to ask the staff to reassess my husband; & we all thought they would see him again. The minutes of the meeting with the CEO were sent out & we felt they were inaccurate so it took 3 weeks to get them amended. In the meantime we understood that the CEO spoke to the team without these minutes; just on his word & the team refused to admit my husband on the course. We have just received his final letter & we feel this too has inaccurate accounts of what has happened through this process. The RNOH suggests that my husbands goes on a similar course in Bath? The only conclusion we think we can make from this is that the psychologist & the ward sister do not want an autistic person in their "way" as no physio or OT has ever met my husband. And by the way when I saw the same team last week for my follow up talk it was confirmed to me by a physio & OT that there is no such thing as "pushing you outside your comfort zone" on this course.

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