Andy Bundy secretary of The Havant Area Disability Access Group questions whether laws support the disabled
Rights and laws, such as the NHS constitution, planning law and building controls are all written to support everyone, but in practice do not appear to apply to those of us with disabilities.
I thought it would be interestingly to take a look at the current state of affairs of those major bits of legislation intended to support us.
The Equality Act (2010) and Public Sector Equality Duty (2011) were a combination of pieces of legislation designed to make discrimination against disabled people illegal.
At the beginning, and even after royal assent it looked like a good piece of law, that was until you read the small print, and discovered that enforcement was basically DIY. The victim has to take the discriminating party to court, and prove their case, which costs huge amounts of money, which few people have.
Planning law still provides little protection for disabled people, nor requirements for the development of fully-accessible housing for rent and for purchase.
Homeowners who acquire a disability are trapped in unsuitable homes which, if they sell, puts them in the worst position financially where renting adapted social housing is concerned. Where disability-unfriendly decisions are made, objections are frequently disregarded, and no right of appeal exists.
Building regulations should, for new developments, ensure that every new building meets all the rules, but is actually a commercial affair, leaving approved inspectors ethically compromised. How else, in Havant and Waterlooville, can both a new restaurant and new large supermarket both have toilets which totally fail to meet standards to the point of being dangerous? Again, no third part right of appeal.
Hospital treatment, especially in our new ‘super-hospital’ is positively third world.
Staff have no training in the care of disabled people, who are generally treated like idiots. After six nights in hospital in March I still have nightmares, and I am not alone.
Single voices are ignored, the expression ‘nobody else has complained’ proves this point. Crowds of people are listened to however, and history shows this time and time again.
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