Saturday, July 02 2011
Dr Rhonda Gallbaly said, "What does it mean to be an Australian with a disability? What is life like in the lucky country, in this land of the fair go? One answer we might expect would be, A citizen with the same rights as everyone else!
But if you have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual disability, what is life really like? Many Australians would say, It's better, isn't it? The bad old days are gone - Aren't they?
The horror and abuse that went on in institutions, that's all gone now, hasn't it. The poverty, the discrimination, the exclusion, the fear and hatred, that's all ancient history, isn't it?
I would love to be able to say yes, that is all ancient history, but I can't. I'm here to tell you that despite this nation enjoying the longest economic boom in its history, very little has changed for most Australians with a disability.”
Much of this culture was developed in the old institutions, where residents were considered less than human. Much of the culture of few reasonable rights is still cultivated in many “staff workplace group homes”. Especially government direct services, where customers and customer service are foreign words.
In total contrast, is the customer service of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Hospital in Melbourne.
The total staff of this hospital, from the front desk to the hi-tech, is wall to wall customer service. Without exception, not one staff member is other than delightful to all patients.
This hospital management has clearly set a very high standard on staff, to ensure all patients experience the utmost respect and friendliness to offset their personal trauma.
Wouldn’t it be absolutely delightful if disability service staff, especially government direct care management and staff, were actively expected to provide similar high customer service standards for those with a disability and their families.
“We are dreaming, again!”