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Rights of access to health and social care

Disabled people share the same general rights of access to health and social care as other people, but there are also some special provisions under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The Disability Discrimination Act

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) gives disabled people important rights of access to health services and social services, such as doctors' surgeries, dental surgeries, hospitals and mobile screening units.

The anti-discrimination provisions of the DDA mean that your GP should not refuse to register, or to continue treating you, because of your disability.

The DDA also means that you have a right to information about healthcare and social services in a format that is accessible to you where it is reasonable for the service provider to provide it in that format.

For example, a hospital may provide forms and explanatory literature in large print or Braille to assist people with visual impairments, or arrange for an interpreter for someone with a hearing impairment.

Help and advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a good source of advice if you feel you may have been discriminated against because of your disability. The commission's helpline provides advice and information about the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to disabled people, employers, service providers, schools and colleges, and friends and families of disabled people.

Telephone: 08457 622 633

Textphone: 08457 622 644

Fax: 08457 778 878

Lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm; Wednesday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.

Consent for medical examinations or treatment

There are specific laws relating to learning disabilities, mental health problems and consent for medical examinations or treatment.

For more details, please see the Department of Health website, where you can download copies of their reference guides to consent for examination and treatment for adults, parents, young people, people with learning disabilities, relatives and carers.

These guides are also available from the NHS Response Line.

Telephone: 08701 555 455

Additional links

Health advice

Visit NHS Choices for health information and local health services in England

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