Sex With A Difference are our Community Heroes in the Spotlight for December.
Lorraine Stanley is the Founder and CEO of Sex With A Difference (SWAD) and trains social services and health care professionals about the sexual health needs of people with disabilities. SWAD also enable disabled people, their partners, and carers, to access services relating to intimacy and sexuality, which includes sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Research, and feedback from lived experience of Lorraine and others, showed that health and social care professionals had a lack of knowledge and understanding of the obstacles faced by people with disabilities, in accessing their services.
Lorraine has presented at and worked with NHS at conferences, with sexual health clinics, Department of Work and Pensions, policy makers, research projects, at Bournemouth Uni and more besides to understand and eradicate barriers to disabled people in accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare. Many health providers are keen to reduce health inequalities faced by the people who use their services, but fail to recognise the lack of people with disabilities attending clinics. Lorraine has published a book on the subject. https://www.swaddorset.org/accessibility-ebook-published/
On 1 February 2023 SWAD launched a two-year disability access campaign called “Better Access for Better Access.” The campaign goal is to have at least one hoisting system and a set of leg supports on an examination couch, in every sexual health clinic and GP surgery in the UK, by 31 December 2024.
This will enable folk with disabilities to be able to have smear tests, prostate cancer tests and more besides in a more dignified and accessible manner. Lorraine told us some people have had prostate cancer tests whilst kneeling on the floor of a GP surgery, as they were unable to get onto the couch.
Another person was three years late in having a smear test as an accessible couch was not available to them. Fortunately, their results were clear, but any delay in these life-saving tests may of course have dreadful consequences.
The campaign is UK-wide and is open to people of all gender identities.
To find out more:
Call: 07758 724191
Write: SWAD Dorset, PO Box 9532, Poole, BH15 9HY