Disabled denied career in social work by discriminatory entry requirements

Disabled people and those with long-term health conditions are being denied the chance to train and practice as social workers because of discriminatory entry requirements, the disability watchdog said today.

A review of public sector guidelines by the Disability Rights Commission found a lack of safeguards against discrimination in guidance relating to social work.

Interim findings of the review published today showed there was “no mention” of the Disability Discrimination Act in the legislation, regulations or statutory guidance for social work.

Cases of discrimination collated so far by the DRC include a trainee social worker who was told to drop her degree after being diagnosed with ME.

The review, due to publish in full next year, is a formal investigation of “fitness to practice” standards in social work, teaching and nursing.

Bert Massie, chair of the Disability Rights Commission, said: “Despite the minefield of regulations governing teaching, nursing and social work, disabled people are in severe danger of experiencing discrimination, both at the point of entry when they undertake training and also later on, once they start working.”

Last year, Peter Van der Gucht, an approved social worker with bipolar affective disorder successfully challenged the General Social Care Council after it tried to impose conditions on his registration.

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Maria Ahmed


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