A mother who is medically exempt from wearing a face mask was angered after she was denied access to first aid training with St John’s Ambulance.
Danielle Curzon, 37, from Market Rasen was asked to complete three days of first aid training for her job as a part-time security trainer with SIA.
Mrs Curzon suffers from ME chronic fatigue syndrome as well as fibromyalgia, which causes long term pain around the body.
She also has tachycardia meaning her heart rate is over 100 beats per minute and she has an internal heart rate monitor fitted to control it. On top of this she also suffers from anaphylaxis allergic reactions to cortisol, adrenaline and all toxins.
For these reasons she is medically exempt from wearing a face mask as she says wearing one makes her physically sick and causes her to have panic attacks.
When she booked on the course, Mrs Curzon was sent an email telling her that people, even with medical exemptions, must wear a face mask.
However, she had hoped her personal circumstances would exempt her.
“I did receive the information saying that I would need to wear a face mask despite being medically exempt but I did think that there would be some exemptions due to the information on the government website,” Mrs Curzon said.
“I turned up really early and explained to the trainer why I could not wear a mask but that I can wear a medical visor and that I was also happy to do a rapid lateral flow test in front of them to prove that I am not contagious.
“The instructor told me that this was not good enough and his manager confirmed this. They had been told not to allow people to do the training without a face mask, even if they are medically exempt, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).”
HSE is a government organisation which advises workplaces about safe practice, including coronavirus regulations.
This advice is based on government guidelines which state that ‘people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment’ are exempt.
Mrs Curzon believes that she has been discriminated against because of her disabilities.
She added: “It is absolutely disgusting that they can do that because if our company had behaved like they have we would have our approval removed because I believe that is disability discrimination.
“We are not allowed to prevent someone from doing our training on the grounds of a disability.
“This triggered a massive panic attack for me and it has stressed me out because I cannot do my job until I have had this first aid training.”
Lincolnshire Live approached St John’s Ambulance for a comment on this matter however they refused to provide one as Mrs Curzon had made a formal complaint but did reveal that an investigation is currently ongoing.
On St John’s Ambulance’s website, it states that face coverings are required for everyone in their venues, including those with a medical exemption.
The website explains: “We have taken this decision by following customer feedback and the latest guidance from our clinical and health and safety advisors.
“Making our courses as COVID-secure as possible is of the utmost importance to us, along with addressing the concerns and anxieties of everyone. Wearing face coverings is a key element of this.
“Anyone unable to wear a face covering will need to postpone their course to a later date when the rules regarding them are relaxed.”
St John’s Ambulance have since refunded Mrs Curzon for the training she was unable to attend.
After sharing her experience on social media, the Market Rasen mum has been offered the first aid training free of charge by Staffordshire based company, Mid County Safety.