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Doctors should promote “disability equality”

The British Medical Association (BMA) wants doctors to lead the way in endorsing equality for disabled patients.

But its new report adds that everyone in healthcare, from senior NHS managers through to reception and administration staff, have a role to play.

"Our report provides doctors with information on how the healthcare they provide to their disabled patients can be optimised and to develop more inclusive and flexible ways of working that meet their needs," says Sam Everington, co-chair of the BMA's Equal Opportunities Committee.

"It is essential that political will and resources support this approach."

The report, "Disability equality within healthcare", was produced jointly by the BMA and its patient liaison group.

It says that the needs of disable people should be fully considered when healthcare organisations plan and commission regional and local services.

The BMA hopes strategic health authorities will collect regional data on the health and access needs of disabled people within local populations in order to inform planning processes.

Chair of the BMA's patient liaison group, Barbara Wood, said: "It is essential that health professionals and staff do not make assumptions about disabled people.

"All health professionals should receive training in disability equality."