An open letter to Jeremy Hunt …

Dear Jeremy Hunt

Over the last week, I have been following you closely on Twitter hoping for a response to #LeDeR.  And then it came … closely followed by you ‘exiting the chamber’ …

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I’ve been frantically Tweeting at you all week.  Random Tweets of rage, sorrow, fear and dread.  I keep wondering do you read your timeline?  Do you read the Tweets of parents of children with learning disabilities who are busily calculating how long they must live to be able to bury their children?  Do you know how it feels to look at your 22 year old son and realise that he is rapidly approaching middle age?

I need to tell you that we, as a family, have bought into the ‘responsibilisation’ and ‘individualisation’ of health that you and your colleagues continue to promote.  We  count our steps, calories, and number of portions of fruit and veg a day.  We watch our weight and our alcohol intake as we meet our activity goals climbing hills for the sake of our mental and physical health.  And we have taught our children to do the same.

And yet, our son still has a life expectancy of 29 years less than his peers.  The myth of individual responsibility for health is exposed as the cause of his life-limiting condition is revealed as the structural health inequalities that you, your government and previous governments have done nothing to change.  And the deaths of people with learning disabilities are categorised simply  categorised by you as ‘far poorer’ outcomes.

And so today, we walked, in the sunshine … but under the ever present cloud of #LeDeR.

How does that make you feel, Mr Hunt?

Katherine Runswick-Cole

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