The Partnership Framework will help the NHS comply with the
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. The Act requires that
of service to disabled people because of their disability. Action in
the Framework includes:
Working with the new health and social care inspectorates to develop
approaches for evaluating the quality of services for disabled
people; The design and delivery of a disability equality training
strategy for the NHS workforce; Guidance and support for Primary Care
Trusts on improving services for disabled people; and An easy-to-use
leaflet for hospital staff - You Can Make a Difference - Improving
Hospital Services for Disabled People.
The leaflet, which is being launched today, suggests practical
measures NHS staff in acute trusts, ambulance trusts and mental
health trusts can take to improve disabled people's experience of
Check how the service user wishes to be examined eg remaining in
their wheelchair. Avoid using complicated language or jargon when
giving a diagnosis or explaining a treatment procedure and take time
to explain it.
Avoid further impairing disabled service users - a badly placed
intravenous drip can prevent someone using sign language.
Regularly seek to audit the way in which services are delivered. A
feedback form can help to assess current service provision and to
identify areas for improvement.
Commenting on this commitment, health secretary John Reid said:
'I am delighted to be able to announce this Partnership Framework.
By working closely with the Disability Rights Commission we will be
better able to deliver on our joint aim to improve the experiences of
all disabled people, both service users and employees, in the health
and social care system.'
Disability Rights Commission chair Bert Massie added:
'Achieving high quality health care and patient choice means
providing health services that meet individual needs and preferences.
One third of all people using NHS services are disabled, ensuring
that they are able to use health services in the same way as everyone
else is vitally important.
'The framework we have developed with the Department of Health
provides clear steps for front line NHS staff to take to meet their
obligations under the DDA and with it deliver high quality health
care to all who need them.'
1. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires that service
providers must not discriminate or provide a poorer quality of
service to disabled people because of their disability. The access
provisions of the DDA are being extended with effect from 1 October
2004 to require service providers to take reasonable steps to remove,
alter or avoid barriers in their premises which prevent disabled
people from accessing services equally.
2. 'You Can Make a Difference - improving hospital services for
disabled people' contains guidance and practical support for
frontline hospital staff, and is being made available to Directors of
Access in all NHS Acute Trusts for onward distribution to staff. The
leaflet, and a longer document giving more detailed guidance, are
also available on the DH website at: www.dh.gov.uk/publications and
3. The Partnership Framework is on DH website at
4. The Disability Rights Commission is an independent statutory body
responsible for advising Government on the effectiveness of
disability discrimination legislation and in promoting good practice
in the public and private sectors aimed at bringing about equality of
opportunity and increa sed participation of Britain's 9.8 million
disabled people. The DRC is empowered by law to conduct formal
investigations which meet these aims. The DRC is led by 15
Commissioners, ten of whom are disabled. The DRC has offices in
Scotland, Wales, Manchester and London.