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Height Adjustable Examination Beds in Doctors Surgeries for Disability Access

  • Published: 2010-04-14 : Australian Human Rights Commission.
  • Synopsis: Doctors surgeries to have height adjustable examination beds for better access to medical care for people with a disability.

Main Document

Commission welcomes important move to improve quality of care at GP visits.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, today welcomed the proposal of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to ensure better access to medical care for people with a disability by making it mandatory for general practice surgeries to have height adjustable examination beds in order to meet industry standards.

RACGP has issued its draft 4th edition of the Standards for general practices and has taken the opportunity to propose height adjustable examination beds become a 'flagged' or required item.

"I want to congratulate the National Expert Committee on Standards for General Practices for listening to the many thousands of Australians who were represented in submissions from disability organizations, women's groups, professional bodies and organizations representing aging Australians," said Commissioner Innes.

"Over the years we have heard many distressing stories of patients being examined on the floor, having to lean over the doctor's desk, having to lay back in their wheelchair or not being examined at all because they could not get onto the fixed height beds."

Height adjustable examination beds will: assist general practice teams to reduce the risk of injury to all patients; limit the risk of misdiagnosis or non-detection of serious medical conditions; reduce the occupational health and safety issues for health practitioners, and; reduce the risks associated with legal responsibilities under discrimination law.

"RACGP has worked hard over the past few years to educate its members about the benefits of having height adjustable examination beds for both patients and staff and this move will help ensure people with mobility difficulties have access to the same quality care as other patients," said Commissioner Innes.

"I also want to recognize the original research on this issue undertaken by Sheila King from Access for All Alliance and the advocacy of Women with Disabilities Australia, People with Disability Australia, Physical Disability Council NSW and COTA NSW."

For more information on the campaign to improve access to height adjustable examination beds, including access to research on the consequences for people with a disability, see humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/health/open0807.htm

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