Disabled people and the risk of GP delisting
Removing patients from primary health care (Report, July 20) could breach the public sector equality duty, for some disabled people. We know many people resident in the community have difficulty initiating access to general practice if they have intellectual disabilities, and it is possible that some people with sensory or communication disabilities would also find the removals directly discriminated against them.
Sometimes our patients with learning disabilities would not open letters from the GP and if they set foot in the surgery it was only when accompanied by a parent. Over time, parents they had relied on to make contact for them could become incapacitated or pass away, and then GPs would “forget” that family and its relationship with the NHS.
To remove isolated, disabled patients from the practice population would remove their one point of contact with the NHS until eventually a medical emergency led them to A&E, and we know from Mencap’s report Death by Indifference what can happen to unfamiliar, disabled patients without any advocacy, in acute hospital settings. The observation that some persons do not book GP appointments for themselves should not make them non-persons.
• I was pleased to hear the recommendation by a House of Lords select committee that restaurants, pubs and clubs that do not provide facilities for disabled customers should be shut down. This continues the Lords’ support for disability issues, and we are grateful in particular to Lord Hunt and Lord Prior for their continued support of the British Polio Fellowship and its members on issues relating to post-polio syndrome (PPS). Although the idea of non-compliant business closure was first floated in March, we are yet to hear of any legislation that ensures this happens.
While almost all venues pay lip service to accessibility, it is all too common to see authorities failing to follow through on disability compliance issues.
Given that the value of the “purple pound” is estimated at £212bn, restaurants, pubs and clubs are not only discriminating, but perversely harming their own business too. We must commend the thousands of venues throughout the country who do follow through on their obligations to those with accessibility needs.
Sadly, in the absence of voluntary adoption of best practice in accessibility across the board, we may need both the carrot and the stick approach to deliver real change.
CEO, British Polio Fellowship
Read the full article online: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/22/disabled-people-and-the-risk-of-gp-delisting
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Disabled people and the risk of GP delisting - 28 Jul 2016
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