Social services inaccessible to one in five disabled people

One in five disabled people face difficulties accessing social
services, according to a report by Leonard Cheshire,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Profoundly deaf people and wheelchair users were the groups most
likely to find social services inaccessible or inadequate, the
survey of over 500 disabled people found.

Disabled people experience significant exclusion from all types
of primary health care. Twenty one per cent found the same problems
accessing hospital accident and emergency units, and this was 50
per cent higher than the general population.

Twenty two per cent found difficulties accessing dentists’
surgeries, and 15 per cent found doctors’ surgeries inadequate or

John Knight, head of policy at the charity, said: “We are
calling on the government, in partnership with disabled people, to
lead an awareness campaign that will help primary care service
providers to deliver effective, flexible and accessible

“It’s important to realise that access is not just about
ramps and lifts – equally important is flexibility of
services and effective communication,” he added.

Leonard Cheshire is calling on health secretary Alan Milburn to
require that all primary care trusts make their services fully
accessible to all disabled people by October 2004.

Inclusive Citizenship is available from 020 7802 8229

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