We have a new guest blog each month highlighting disability issues in older people, let me introduce Philip Barton, a very active OPP member.

“I have been asked to write a monthly blog about disability issues.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to argue in the first of these pieces why I might be qualified to do so.

I was born with lung disease and a grossly overactive immune system (IgE count 1660, around 80 being normal), which causes allergies and anaphylaxis.

I developed a form of juvenile arthritis (probably related to my dysfunctional immune system).  After a very high fever when aged 11, I acquired a neurological difference, which caused chronic sleep disturbance.  Chronic lack of sleep led to sinoatrial arrest (the misfiring of one of the heart’s natural pacemakers), which still affects me.

Aged about 16, I had my first non-epileptic (functional) seizure.  During my mid-twenties, I developed fibromyalgia, probably caused by chronic sleep disturbance and/or passive smoking.

I have other health conditions that are just a nuisance to live with and was prescribed a wheelchair in March 1997.

I started a local fibromyalgia charity in 2004.  We raised money for research, funding a study into the incidence of fibromyalgia in children, and I made several trips to Portland, Oregon (USA) to attend academic conferences about the condition.

I was a founder member of the Independent Direct Payments Forum, which sought to represent the interests of Wirral people (and their representatives) who are in receipt of a Social Services direct payment or personal budget.

As someone who employs my own care staff directly, I received the Skills For Care Accolade for “Best Individual Employer” in 2011-12.

I work part-time as a chartered town planner and decide appeals on behalf of the Scottish Government, which sometimes involves exercising the Public Sector Equality Duty.

So, these are my qualifications for writing this blog. Next month’s subject: co-operation between Social Services and the NHS.”



Philip Barton