When you first register for a certificate of visual impairment and you have informed your local authority that you may need care and support, they have a legal duty, under The Social Care Act, to carry out an assessment. This assessment is designed to evaluate what kind of extra support you need, perhaps it is help around the home or navigating the outside world. But problems seem to occur when a local authority does not have the specialist knowledge of visual impairments in order to diagnose the most suitable help and when newly blind people are not aware of what they are entitled to.
On the programme, we hear from two people who have experienced problems in accessing social care assistance from their local authorities. We discuss rehabilitation, a service which offers visual impairment training, and why certain areas of the UK don't have the necessary specialist support.
Our guests include: Professor Fred Reid, a long time campaigner on behalf of visually impaired people, and honorary professor of history at Warwick University. Simon Labbett, chair of the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network, and a rehabilitation officer for the blind and John Dixon, the RNIB's policy lead on social care.
It's our 60th Birthday!
We are 60 years old! Peter White shares his fondest memories and experiences of presenting In Touch and we hear something of the programme's history from one of the original producers.
Also, cornea and retina specialists have begun to notice eye-related complications in people who have recovered from COVID 19. Some people have experienced blurred vision while ill with the disease, but it appears that for some, the effect can remain, long after they've recovered. In some cases, it's thought that the disease blocks or restricts blood supply to the retina, which results in a condition called retinopathy. In some extreme cases, vision can be impaired. We investigate this with the Clinical Director of the Association of Optometrists, Dr Peter Hampson.
And we hear from someone who successfully uses assistive technology in their place of work. And it may not be the job role you're expecting it to be...
Producer: Fern Lulham
Presenter: Peter White
Banks and ATMs; Assistive Tech for Work
Figures by the consumer group Which? show that, over a six year period, the number of bank branches across the UK have decreased by around 44%. The number of cash machines have also decreased; in just two years, we've lost nearly 11 thousand of them nationwide. But what does this mean for people who may prefer to use cash or visit their local branch? We speak with the Head of Money at Which?, Gareth Shaw about their findings on this. We also talk to the UK's largest provider of cash machines, LINK about the future financial landscape in the UK and to The Baron Holmes of Richmond, Lord Chris Holmes about a new pilot scheme that aims to keep the cash flowing within local communities.
And when it comes to employment, around just one in four visually impaired people of working age have a job. As you may know, there are many barriers that prevent people getting into work, but one of those is perhaps that job seekers and perspective employers alike are unaware of the technology that will aid visually impaired people when in work. Well, our reporter Fern Lulham is here to help and has put together some information about some of the best work-based technology on the market.
Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Beth Hemmings
AI Macular Degeneration Detection; New Money For Blind Sport
It can be a common occurrence to hear your doctor say 'if only we'd caught this sooner'. Well, the reading department at Moorfields Eye Hospital have created a way to detect signs of one of the most common causes of blindness, all in under 30 seconds. They've done this using artificial intelligence technology and it can detect Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. There is currently no treatment for this condition, unlike the 'wet' form of the disorder, but it is an exciting development in AI medicine. We speak with Dr Konstantinos Balaskas about how it all works and with Cathy Yelf from the Macular Society about potential future treatment for the condition.
Sport England have dedicated £1 million to get visually impaired people more active. It will be delivered through a three year campaign called See Sport Differently. It comes as new figures show that blind and partially sighted people are twice as likely to be completely inactive as people without a vision impairment, with more than half of people with a vision impairment doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.
Paralympics GB medal winners Chris Skelly and Libby Clegg have launched the campaign, we will be speaking with Libby about it, her sporting career and what she plans to do now she's announced her retirement.
The Return to University
September marks the start of the new university term. We hear from some visually impaired students who are returning to their studies. They tell us about their experiences with university life so far, and what they're expecting from this new academic year.
We also hear from a former disability student advisor about what support is available for visually impaired students and from Rachel Hewett from the Vision Impairment Centre For Teaching and Research at the University of Birmingham, about all things student finance.