NHS trust apologises to blind woman after guard tries to block guide dog

Historian Dr Amy Kavanagh was trying to enter the hospital with her sick daughter.

NHS trust apologises to blind woman after guard attempts to block guide dog at West Middlesex hospital Getty Images

An NHS trust has apologised to a blind woman after a security guard attempted to stop her from entering a hospital with her sick daughter.

Historian Dr Amy Kavanagh has described how the worker at the West Middlesex University Hospital attempted to bar her because she was accompanied by her guide dog Ava.

Posting on social media Dr Kavanagh, who campaigns on disability issues, wrote: “Tonight a hospital security guard tried to stop me entering urgent care with @GuideDogAva & my poorly baby.

“We kept walking after firmly saying ‘this is a guide dog’.

“Very grateful to the members of the public who also shouted him down & the nurse on the reception who had words.”

She added: “As a mother with an ill child I should not have to also deal with the additional fear & stress of an access refusal because of my guide dog.

“The law has existed for over 25 years. There is no excuse for staff, including third-party contractors, in public service to be unaware.

“Ava wears a huge sign and multiple labels stating she is a guide dog.”

“Little One is OK, nothing serious but worth checking so we could get some advice.

“It’s exhausting constantly dealing with this in the NHS.

“If you work in healthcare, have conversations with your security teams & educate them about assistance dogs.”

A spokeswoman for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said that they had reached out to Dr Kavanagh and the issue had been “raised at the highest levels” of the trust.

She said: “We are taking this incident seriously, our organisation is fully committed to providing accessible services for everyone in our community, in a safe and welcoming environment

“We have contacted the patient to offer our sincere apologies and importantly, to ensure that appropriate action will take place following an immediate internal review.”

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