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Rights for disabled people

4th December 2006

The NHS must promote the rights of disabled people thanks to a new duty that has come into effect.

The Disability Equality Duty (DED) covers the NHS, local councils and government departments which will now be forced to publish plans on how they will meet their obligations to deliver services to the UK's 10m disabled people.

The new duty, which came into effect on December 4, is similar to the race equality duty introduced five years ago. It will affect an estimated 45,000 public bodies.

The government has called it a step towards their vision of achieving equality for disabled people within the next 20 years.

Their aim is to ensure services are tailored to meet the user not the provider. Public bodies will have to consider disability when formulating policy and how services will be delivered and publish a disability equality scheme plan outlining these intentions.

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) says that it has been pressing for the introduction of the DED since 2000.

New rights have also been introduced for disabled people on public transport, who have the right to ‘reasonable adjustments’ on public transport, but it excludes air travel.

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