Editorials

Disability discrimination

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7306.178 (Published 28 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:178

The UK's act requires health services to remove barriers to access and participation

  1. Joyce M Carter, consultant in public health medicine ([email protected]),
  2. Natalie Markham, project manager (employment, education, and training)
  1. Liverpool Health Authority, Liverpool L3 6AL
  2. Liverpool City Council, Liverpool L3 2AW

    Discrimination on grounds of race and gender is increasingly acknowledged in medicine, 1 2 but equal attention has not been given to disability discrimination. Will this change now that the General Medical Council is being taken to a tribunal by a prospective medical student who is disabled?3 Ironically, education is exempt from the section (part III) of the United Kingdom's Disability Dicrimination Act on provision of goods and services that has recently become enforceable. But the act must be taken seriously by the NHS and other organisations that provide services to the public.

    The prospective student had been offered a place at medical school, but modifications were needed so she could complete the course. The GMC stated that it “could not in law agree an alternative curriculum which covers a lesser order of knowledge and skill,” but an employment tribunal said this position showed a lack of appreciation of the possible modifications that could be made.4 The tribunal also ruled that the GMC was a trade organisation and therefore …

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