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BATA speaks out against DSA reforms

BATA speaks out against DSA reforms

BATA recently took the opportunity of a speaking engagement at the University of Hertfordshire to put its case against changes to Disabled Students Allowances (DSA).

The Association took part in a seminar at the University entitled Engineering for the Disabled, arranged by the East of England Engineering Science and Technology Association (EEESTA).

BATA executive director John Lamb gave a vote of thanks during which he detailed the Association’s campaign to mitigate the effects of cuts in DSA grant scheme.

“We are convinced that the changes will deter disabled students, who are among the poorest, from entering higher education,” he told an audience of 300 engineers, which had heard presentations on prosthetic limbs, advances in eye surgery and telehealth.

“It is a measure that has been introduced with little consultation and which will see higher education institutions take on new responsibilities that they are not well placed to discharge. At the same time, Jisc TechDis, an organisation that provides advice and tools to higher education institutions is being disbanded.”

During the seminar Ian Jones, executive committee member of the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists explained how past conflicts have driven development in prosthetics, enabling injured military personnel access to advanced products to enable them to deal with their amputations.

Cataract surgery has become the commonest operation in Western Europe, a reflection of our ageing population and its increasing surgical success. As a result we have moved from surgery to save sight to an operation to improve vision.

An integral part of this is the design of the intraocular lens.  Professor David Spalton, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas' Hospital, discussed the engineering, biomechanical and optical demands on a seemingly simple piece of plastic.

Telehealth, the technology that enables clinicians to monitor their patients' health remotely, benefits disabled people in many ways. These range from the not having to travel to the surgery to the use of near field communication by people with poor limb coordination. Charles Lowe; president of the Royal Society of Medicine outlined how telehealth offers people with disabilities better health.