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JOINT ACTION FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

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A joint Framework for Partnership Action on Disability to help deliver improvements for disabled people in health a...
A joint Framework for Partnership Action on Disability to help deliver improvements for disabled people in health and social care settings has been announced.

The Partnership Framework will help the NHS comply with the

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. The Act requires that

service providers must not discriminate or provide a poorer quality

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

hospital services.

For example:

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.'

Notes

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

www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/EqualityAndDiversity

3. The Partnership Framework is on DH website at

www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/EqualityAndDiversity

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.

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