EHRC seeks assurance from NHS Scotland over equal access to health care

EHRC Scotland will be contacting Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board to seek assurances that they are satisfying their legal obligations in respect of disabled patients.

This follows a ruling from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman that a patient at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire was not provided with the reasonable adjustments she was entitled to under the Equality Act 2010.

The commission will also raise its concerns that the needs of disabled patients are not being routinely met across Scotland with the Scottish government, NHS Scotland and the director general of health & social care.

The ombudsman was concerned the hospital’s consultation process failed to meet the needs of disabled people generally and this patient specifically. NHS Ayrshire and Arran is required to ensure disabled patients have equal access to healthcare, so must make reasonable adjustments where they are needed.

Alastair Pringle, Scotland director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “Only 18 months ago we supported a legal case where a deaf woman was not given access to BSL interpreters during her hospital stay in NHS Tayside.

“Our work with NHS Tayside on this resulted in their commitment to improve their systems and ensure BSL interpreters were available to all patients. We have been engaging closely with the Scottish government and NHS Scotland to ensure that lessons from Tayside have been learned and that every patient has access to BSL interpreters.

“I am disappointed we are here again so soon, presented with another case where the NHS in Scotland is failing people with individual needs.

Our work on BSL access with NHS Tayside demonstrates how it is possible to get it right for one part of the population. The NHS now needs to look at how it will transfer the lessons learned in this case across Scotland and to all areas of disability.”

Share icon
Share this article: