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John Dougan

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John Dougan

John Dougan

The questions need to be more sophisticated and asked by people who understand brain injury

John Dougan found the Personal Independent Payment assessment was ‘completely inadequate’ at measuring the impact of his brain injury.

John, 57, from Rotherham, sustained a traumatic brain injury in a road traffic accident in 1995.

The accident left him with a number of issues including fatigue and problems with his memory.

Here he shares his story as part of our Right First Time campaign.

John’s complex brain injury was assessed by an Ambulance Technician in 2014.

He says despite important points which needed to be fully explained, she didn’t allow any answers to be expanded upon, and seemed to be simply following a script, regardless.

He said: “No-one really explained to me what was going to happen and the whole experience was very impersonal.”

There was clearly a strict script she was working from and she barely looked up throughout the whole meeting. I didn’t feel there was much compassion or understanding at all.

“The questions asked were very closed and she didn’t give me a chance to explain. She didn’t take the time or give me the opportunity to expand on anything.”

“For instance, one question was ‘can you make a cup of tea?’ which I can. But I didn’t get the chance to explain that I often forget I put the kettle on, or forget that I had a cup of tea five minutes earlier, or believe I’ve already had one when I hadn't

“I know how to make a meal, but I can’t be trusted to use the oven as I often get distracted and have left the gas on so many times – it is just too dangerous.”

Although John successfully qualified for the payment, he is anxious about being reassessed in the future.

John said the assessment needs to have a wider scope and be done by a specialist in brain injury.

He said: “The questions need to be more sophisticated and asked by people who understand brain injury enough to be able to dig a little bit deeper, to get to the real impact. The assessment doesn’t reflect the reality of the person who may be depending desperately on a fair decision.”


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