Being a Disabled Patient: Negotiating the Social Practices of Hospitals in England

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Being a Disabled Patient: Negotiating the Social Practices of Hospitals in England


  • Stuart Read Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol, UK
  • Val Williams Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol, UK
  • Pauline Heslop Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol, UK
  • Victoria Mason-Angelow Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol, UK
  • Caroline Miles Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol, UK


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Abstract:  Accessing hospital care and being a patient is a highly individualised process, but it is also dependent on the culture and practices of the hospital and the staff who run it. Each hospital usually has a standard way of ‘doing things’, and a lack of flexibility in this may mean that there are challenges in effectively responding to the needs of disabled people who require ‘reasonably adjusted’ care. Based on qualitative stories told by disabled people accessing hospital services in England, this article describes how hospital practices have the potential to shape a person’s health care experiences. This article uses insights from social practice theories to argue that in order to address the potential problems of ‘misfitting’ that disabled people can experience, we first need to understand and challenge the embedded hospital practices that can continue to disadvantage disabled people.

Keywords:  disability identification; disabled people; hospital; patient care; social practices

Published:   17 May 2018


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v6i2.1308


© Stuart Read, Val Williams. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.