DH: Regulations do not breach disability discrimination law

The Department of Health has said regulatory requirements for care leaders to be “physically and mentally fit” to perform their roles do not breach disability discrimination legislation.

The DH was responding to concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission yesterday that the requirements for individuals registered as providing or managing a care service could potentially lead to discrimination against disabled people.

The provisions are included in current social care regulations and the draft version of new regulations due to come into force next year for adult social care and health providers in England.

The CQC launched consultative guidance this week on what providers registering with the inspectorate will need to do to comply with the new regulatory requirements. It raised the concerns around potential discrimination in an equality impact assessment of the guidance, though suggested this could be addressed if its guidance explicitly stated that disabled people should not be disadvantaged by the requirements.

A DH spokesperson said it had discussed the issue with anti-discrimination watchdog the Equality and Human Rights Commission and confirmed that the requirements are “consistent with equalities and human rights legislation” – in this case the Disability Discrimination Act.

He added: “When making decisions about physical and mental fitness it will be important that the Care Quality Commission and employers also take account of the Disability Discrimination Act and make reasonable adjustments where appropriate. We are pleased that the Care Quality Commission has recognised that they will need to make this explicit in their guidance.”

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