Nick Ramsay AM is raising awareness of challenges facing blind and partially sighted people in Wales.
At a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday (3rd October) the Monmouthshire AM is addressed concerns raised by people with sight loss and RNIB Cymru.
The charity, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month, estimates that there are 107,000 blind and partially sighted people living in Wales. This is set to double in the next 20 years.
Nick Ramsay AM said: “We in Wales need to find new solutions, new ways to build a country where the equal participation of blind and partially sighted people is the norm.
“From difficulty accessing treatment and services, to a lack of emotional and practical support, blind and partially sighted people each face their own set of challenges every day.
“These are just some of the barriers that people with sight loss face and we can tackle them. We can do things differently, we can see differently.”
The Monmouthshire AM, who sits on the Cross Party Group for Vision, is raising a number of concerns including:
- Cancelled and delayed eye clinic appointments, which puts people at risk of irreversible sight loss.
- A lack of rehabilitation services, which are essential in supporting people with sight loss to adapt to the world around them.
- Patients still aren’t receiving vital health information in accessible formats, which can put them at serious risk. This is despite Wales introducing the Accessible Healthcare Standards for People with Sensory Loss in 2013.
In addition to these barriers the AM is also highlighting the fact that blind and partially sighted people are more likely to have a fall, live in poverty, experience depression, be unemployed and have problems with everyday life such as going out, cooking and reading. RNIB Cymru is also warning that street clutter and inaccessible transport can lead to people living with sight loss feeling isolated from their communities.
RNIB Cymru’s Director Ansley Workman said: “We’re really glad that Nick Ramsay AM has used his platform in the Senedd to draw attention to some of the serious barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people.
“People are suffering unnecessarily because of the inadequacies in our services, care and treatment for people with sight loss. Not only this but as our population ages in Wales more and more of us will lose our sight. So now is the time for us to get things right.
“This is why RNIB Cymru is working with the blind and partially sighted community to make change happen at every level in society.”
People in Monmouthshire who have been affected by sight loss or would like to become involved with RNIB Cymru’s work can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 029 2082 8500.