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Disability Rights Commission launches legal review

22 May 2006

Regulations and procedures governing teaching, nursing and social work are to be subjected to a legal review to see if they comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) announced today.

The DRC’s review – which includes Scotland – will form part of a year-long formal investigation (FI) into how training, qualifying and working practices within these professions may be posing challenges to the entry and progress of disabled people.

The formal investigation will have three elements:

  • an analysis of the legislative and regulatory frameworks and associated legal cases;
  • an investigation of how decisions are made about whether people are considered fit to train and work in teaching, nursing and social work;
  • research on the issue of non-disclosure of impairments and long-term health conditions.

Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC, said: “We want to see disabled people at the heart of British life and making a contribution to our public services. Teaching, nursing and social care could benefit from employing and retaining more disabled people, including those with long-term health conditions. "However, these are highly regulated occupations and it appears from our initial work that this may present a barrier to some disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.”

The DRC has amassed evidence on which it has based its decision to undertake this investigation. This includes cases of disabled people prevented from entering or staying in these occupations, especially when they become disabled in later life.

Additionally, where disabled people enter training in these sectors, they often report being pigeon-holed into particular areas where they may not wish to work.