New UK government plan aims at helping disabled people

A new action plan will help disabled people to be able to use health services in the same way as everyone else.

The joint framework for partnership action, announced today by the Health Secretary and the chair of the Disability Rights Commission, will help the NHS to meet the requirements set out in the Disability Discrimination Act. It says that service providers must not give disabled people a poorer service because of their disability.

As part of the action a leaflet is being sent to hospital staff suggesting ways of improving disabled people's experiences - for example by placing intravenous drips in a way that doesn't stop people using sign language.

The framework also includes plans for training NHS staff and new ways of measuring the quality of services for disabled people.

Health Secretary John Reid said: "By working closely with the Disability Rights Commission we will be better able to deliver on our joint aim to improve the experiences of all disabled people, both service users and employees, in the health and social care system."

The chair of the Disability Rights Commission, Bert Massie, said that as one third of all people using NHS services are disabled it is vitally important that they are able to use health services in the same way as everyone else.

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