Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ribera Salud Group in Spain bats for Universal Accessibility in its Hospitals, to allow the Guide dogs in

Dear Colleagues,

This is welcome news from Costa Blanca - a city in Alicante province of Spain. Ribera Salud - a leading healthcare management group in Spain that manages the Torrevieja Hospital situated in Costa Blanca has announced plans with a series of special measures for patients and visitors with wide range of disabilities or mobility issues. Costa Blanca for the information of our readers, has a well-developed tourism industry and is a popular destination for British and German tourists.

Universal Accessibility in Hospitals
The managers of Ribera Salud describe these measures as their effort to provide ‘universal accessibility’ to an estimated 10 per cent of people that use the hospital and that it will improve the experience of these patients during either a temporary or longer stay.  This includes, for the first time, guide dogs to accompany their handlers, consultations conducted in sign language and a friend or relative to accompany them in the emergency department in extreme cases.

Other objectives of the plan are to minimize the length of time patients with disabilities need to wait between arriving at the hospital and being seen by the consultant doctors, by adapting the schedules of the health professionals accordingly.

A special training programme has also been developed aimed at the consultants and staff to guarantee the success of this plan of care, and the hospital has already carried out an information campaign through a series of leaflets in the main zones of the centre dealing with patient admission. Local institutions and associations dealing with people with disabilities or mobility issues have also been informed of the initiative so they can pass this on to their members.

Spain and India - both signatories to UNCRPD
It is pertinent to mention that Spain and India both signed the UNCRPD on 30 Mar 2007 when it was opened for signature. India subsequently ratified the CRPD on 01st October 2007 while Spain ratified it on 03rd December 2007 (on international day for persons with disabilities).

The accessibility improvements in Indian Hospitals are still in their initial stages. Guide dogs have yet no future in the Indian scenario with city and rural roads full of stray dogs and complete absence of any training institutions for training the service animals. Municipalities in India even today do not have clear enforceable rules on the duties of dog owners to collect the dog poo and spoil the neighborhood. We have a long way to go but good beginning has surely been made with the Accessible India Campaign' covering major hospitals for access audits and Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare focusing on private hospital chains also to ensure accessibility in their services in addition to Government run health services. The new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 in India is a shot in arm that mandates even private establishments to incorporate accessibility in their built environment and services.