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Disabled organizations are calling for more accessible medical practices
According to the associations of disabled people, numerous medical practices in Germany are not suitable for disabled people. Often only minimum standards such as the establishment of a disabled parking space would be met. However, the fewest medical practices guarantee actual accessibility for all disabled people, according to the criticism of the Federal Competence Center for Accessibility (BKB).
In view of the existing deficits, the Federal Competence Center for Accessibility as a special-purpose association of 15 social and handicapped associations has called for the establishment of additional barrier-free medical practices. Wheelchair access is by no means automatically equated with barrier-free. Hannelore Loskill, board member of the BKB, criticized the news agency "dapd" about the grievances in access to medical practices for disabled people and called for a Germany-wide action plan to improve accessibility in medical practices.
150,000 doctor's practices that are not accessible to disabled people The BKB expert not only has access to wheelchair accessibility, but also disabled access for people with other disabilities, such as blind or deaf people. Most of the clinics or medical practices declared to be suitable for the disabled are adequately equipped for wheelchair users, but people with visual impairments still face considerable difficulties here, Loskill explained. In relation to all forms of disability, there is "no region in Germany that could be said to have barrier-free medical practices," the BKB board member criticized. As the associations of disabled people report, the medical directory of the Health Foundation in Germany lists around 68,000 doctors who have at least partially designed their practices for disabled patients. However, the experts at the BKB criticize the fact that in some cases only the minimum requirements, such as a disabled parking space, are met. Comprehensive accessibility is often not guaranteed. According to the medical directory of the Health Foundation, around 152,000 medical practices are not suitable for the disabled or the doctors have not given any information on this
Accessibility for all disabled people According to the BKB, when setting up more physician-friendly medical practices, it is not enough if the practices can be reached at ground level or by elevator, but also for the visually impaired and deaf. For example, visually impaired people would often have difficulty finding the elevator if it was made of glass. Afterwards, they are usually given a form to fill out when they first visit the doctor, which they cannot fill out on their own. If those affected point this out, they are often “not treated very kindly”, criticized Hannelore Loskill.
Accessibility is a vague term According to the associations of disabled people, the unclear use of the term “accessibility” unnecessarily complicates the selection of suitable medical practices for people with physical impairments. Hannelore Loskill explained that the "only barrier-free statement actually doesn't say anything" about access to a doctor's office for the disabled. The term is interpreted too differently, and the expert believes that a clear distinction as to what types of disabilities a doctor's office is geared towards would be far more helpful. In order to ensure that doctors who describe their practice as handicapped-friendly also adhere to it, the information would have to be checked regularly or confirmed by a certification according to the disability associations.
Accessibility problems in medical practices threaten to increase in general Accessibility is an increasingly important topic in everyday life, not least because of demographic change and the progressive aging of society. It is therefore all the more regrettable that the desirable standards are often not achieved in medical practices. According to Hannelore Loskill, the problem threatens to worsen in the future, because on the one hand more people with age-related physical limitations come to the practices and on the other hand more doctors are retiring. These could be the doctor's offices ", which are already located barrier-free on the ground floor," says Loskill. (fp)
Image: Albrecht E. Arnold / pixelio.de