Disability and Access

To date our previous posts have covered the growing concern of discrimination towards those who are disabled our physically impaired throughout the UK and Ireland. We began with a complete overview of the current problems facing those who are disabled within the UK and Ireland. We then moved on and covered more focused topics on areas such as families dealing with disabilities and disability and employment.

In keeping with our current focus, we have decided to shine further light on how those who are disabled face regular reoccurring problems with regard to access. Recent reports have suggested as much as 30% of adults with impairments have found certain buildings outside of the home completely inaccessible. This coupled with the fact that only 6% of those who are not disabled reported the same problem points to the need for further development and improvement in the area of disabled access throughout the UK and Ireland.

Studies have found that the six most common buildings where access is difficult for adults with impairments included shops (54%), hospitals (34%), bars or restaurants (23%), other people’s homes (20%), GP Surgey (19%) and finally the theatre or cinema (17%). Further contributing findings have also shown that 21% of all disabled people and 64% of profoundly deaf people find accident and emergency units either inaccessible or inadequate for their needs.

As you can see from the statistics above, not only does the lack of disabled access throughout the country hinder the possibility of enjoyment among those who are disabled or impaired, it also puts their life at risk in the event of an emergency where quick access and exit points are required.

A recent survey was carried out to find out the most common barriers to accessing buildings for adults with impairments. The survey found that out of those surveyed, almost half (44%) found general movement around buildings quite difficult. It was also found that almost a quarter (23%) found that the most common barrier to access was inadequate lifts or escalators.

It is not just general public buildings where these issues have been raised. In fact it is quite the opposite, with over a third (36%) of adults with impairments reporting they had difficulty accessing public services.

Further research also found that 82% of adults with an impairment experience barriers in leisure, social and cultural activities and that as a result, disabled people remain significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure and sporting activities.

Not only is the lack of disabled access throughout Ireland and the UK hindering the daily activities of those who are disabled, it is denying them the same quality of life experienced by those who are not physically impaired and has made some feel inadequate in comparison with over a quarter of the disabled surveyed said that they feel they have no choice or control over their daily lives.

The above statistics are shocking in today’s society and immediate action is needed to ensure those who are disabled or physically impaired are given the same chance at life as those who are not. We hope this post has helped to add further awareness to an issue which has been for the want of words, swept under the rug. Please support those who are physically impaired by sharing this post and helping us to create awareness of this issue.