Bingo hall ‘turns away’ ill woman

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Joanne Bate from Glasshoughton, who suffers with having epilepsy, has been told by Gala Bingo (Glasshoughton) that she must be accompanied if she wants to return to the Gala Bingo site.'Photo date: 28/07/15'Picture Ref: AB153a0715

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Joanne Bate from Glasshoughton, who suffers with having epilepsy, has been told by Gala Bingo (Glasshoughton) that she must be accompanied if she wants to return to the Gala Bingo site.'Photo date: 28/07/15'Picture Ref: AB153a0715

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A Glass Houghton woman claims she has been told not to enter her local Bingo hall unaccompanied after suffering an epileptic seizure.

Joanne Bate, 42, who has had epilepsy since having a bout of meningitis aged four, had a fit whilst at Gala Bingo in Park Road, Glass Houghton around three weeks ago.

Mrs Bate, who attends the club every week, said staff called an ambulance to take her to Pinderfields Hospital.

But when she returned to the club again, she claims a manager approached her and told her to avoid coming into the club alone, particularly if she felt unwell.

She said: “He told me not to go into the Bingo on my own because of the seizure and said some of the staff were a bit scared of me and many of them weren’t fully qualified in first aid.

“I was deeply upset because I am a regular customer up there and enjoy going.”

Mrs Bate, who said the Bingo was one of the few pleasures she could enjoy with her epilepsy and meant she could get out and socialise, said she complained to Gala Bingo’s head office.

She added: “I don’t always know when I am going to have a seizure, it’s no fault of mine.”

A spokesperson for Gala Bingo said: “We have spoken to the customer in question various times over the last month and explained that she is always welcome as she is a valued customer.”

They said on her return to the club Mrs Bate warned staff that she had been released from hospital and felt she may need medical attention.

“We subsequently have asked her that if a medical emergency is highly likely, it would be advisable to bring someone to the club with her who can administer the treatment she needs at that time,” the spokesperson said.

“We have, in this particular case, encouraged the customer to take the necessary precautions, including bringing experienced support, or not to visit the club at these times of high risk. We feel this is a responsible approach that balances her ability to enjoy our facilities and her personal safety.”

The spokesperson said the club has designated first aid trained staff to provide assistance in medical emergencies, but cannot administer medication.