Disability equality within healthcare: the role of healthcare professionals

British Medical Association
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It is estimated that around 11 million adults in the UK are disabled. There is evidence that inequalities in health outcomes and access to healthcare among disabled people continue to exist. Doctors recognise that they have an important role to play in addressing disability equality. Section one introduces the social model of disability which highlights that it is barriers within society which ‘disable’ people with impairments and not the impairments themselves. Applying this model to healthcare means that adopting a more holistic approach to disability which looks beyond standards and targets, and works in partnership with disabled people, is likely to be more effective in addressing health inequalities experienced by disabled people. Section two highlights the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 which make it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in the provision of healthcare. All service providers, including those in general practice, have a duty to promote disability equality and are required make reasonable adjustments to the way they deliver healthcare and to the physical features of their premises to meet the needs of disabled people. NHS organisations, excluding GP practices, also have a duty to produce a disability equality scheme to demonstrate and report on how they will tackle disability equality and how they will consult with disabled people within service design.

Subject terms:
law, professional role, social model, disability discrimination, disabilities, discrimination, equal opportunities, health care, health professionals;
Content type:
United Kingdom
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ISBN print:
978 1 905545 19 3

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