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Disability Access: What are your responsibilities?

14 Jul 2017 7:00 AM

The Disability Discrimination Act contains a series of disability standards and guidelines that are designed to ensure people with disabilities enjoy equal access to important services including a range of healthcare premises.

Your building owner has certain responsibilities under these standards to provide disability access to your practice. Or if you own your premises, you are responsible for ensuring your building complies with disability access standards under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Here are some important disability access responsibilities you should keep in mind:

1. Provide appropriate physical access

Your practice must provide appropriate physical access for people with disabilities or special needs. Wheelchair access – either via an external ramp or a compliant lift if you are located higher than the ground floor – is a basic requirement. And it’s a good idea to ensure your interior hallways, doorways and exam rooms are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.


2. Provide appropriate toilet facilities

Your building should also provide toilet facilities suitable for people with disabilities. That means ensuring entry and exit to the toilet facilities is wheelchair friendly, along with the installation of appropriate handrails and other safety provisions as necessary.


3. Provide accessible parking

Your building or complex should offer accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities. These should be located as close as possible to wheelchair-friendly entrances and exits, should be marked for disabled use only, and should be wide enough to allow people with mobility issues to easily enter and exit their vehicles.


4. Provide staff education

It’s one thing to provide disability access to your practice, but you’ll also need to ensure your reception staff are aware of the measures you’ve implemented. If a patient with a disability calls to enquire about access issues, your staff should be able to instruct them where to park, how to access the building, and where the appropriate toilet facilities are located.


5. Provide home visits

If it’s not possible to provide disability access to your building due to factors beyond your control, you can help to remedy the situation by providing home visits to people with disabilities. But don’t charge extra. People with disabilities should not be penalised because they can’t access your premises.


Cassin Healthcare Design and Construct specialises in custom medical fit outs, veterinary fit outs, dental fit outs and radiology fit outs with more than 28 years of experience in the healthcare fit out industry. Call our friendly team on 1300 122 774 to find out what we can do for you.