Sadly I’ve reached that age in life when women receive letters inviting them to go for breast cancer screening. My first time was today. Before I go on, I’d like to say how impressed I was with everyone I met at the clinic. They were very natural about guiding me and didn’t seem at all phased that I had rocked up with my guide dog!
When I’d had the scan I asked the woman who did it how I would receive my results. She said it would be a letter so I asked if I could have an Email instead. She didn’t know so asked me to raise it with the people at the front desk on the way out. I did this and they didn’t know either. They asked me to wait a few minutes after which I was called in to see a radiographer. She said they weren’t prepared to send out an Email because they did not send confidential material that way. Her and a colleague had therefore looked at my scan and she gave me my results face to face. This was an excellent reasonable adjustment as far as I was concerned and I very much appreciated it.
I do wonder, however, about the reluctance of health service professionals to send out information by Email. Is it really that insecure and is the postal service any more secure? In my case I would say not.
A letter could be opened somewhere between the sender and the recipient. In my case it might not scan well which so many don’t, in which case I would have to have it read to me. Imagine therefore, if I’d been unfortunate enough for something to show up on that screening, I could have given it to a neighbour, a colleague or a friend to read. I would have then received the bad news through that person and would have had to deal with their reaction as well as my own. All choice as to when and if I told that person the news would have been taken away from me.
Personally if some hacker reads my Email I actually don’t care. They don’t know me so don’t care either. It’s just words on a page to them and probably of no use to them whatsoever.
As blind people we still are denied accessible personal information purely because organisations’ policies do not allow the sending of confidential information by Email. There is no option to say, OK, I accept that the letter might get intercepted on the way but I am happy to take that risk. I do hope this will one day change.