Anti-Discrimination NSW

​Unable to access doctor’s premises

Conciliation - Disability discrimination in goods and services 

A woman who used a motorised wheelchair to attend a medical specialist’s surgery and found she was unable to access the premises. 

The complainant is unable to walk and uses a motorised wheelchair.  When she attended a medical specialist’s surgery, she was unable to enter the premises due to a step up to the door. 

She said that the practice manager then “fumbled around with some telephone books” and offered to lift her in her wheelchair over the step. She found this distressing and embarrassing and did not agree to being lifted over the threshold as she thought it was inappropriate and dangerous. 

The woman made a complaint of disability discrimination to the Board on the grounds that she had not been informed beforehand of the access problem. At conciliation, the doctor apologised for the practice’s failure to make suitable arrangements for wheelchair access, and agreed to acquire a portable ramp for use in future.  

The doctor also agreed to pay the complainant $1000 to cover the humiliation and embarrassment she suffered. The complainant was happy with the outcome and the complaint was resolved.

What are my rights to goods and services?

  • In general, you have the right to apply for and get goods or services in the same way as people who don't have a disability.
  • Anything that you need to get into to access a service (for example a building or transport) must be accessible to you, unless it would cause the owner 'unjustifiable hardship' to make it accessible.
  • There may be less expensive changes that could improve accessibility without causing unjustifiable hardship. If this is the case, the changes should be made. At the very least, service providers should have plans for how they are going to make their service accessible in the future.

​​​​Back to September 2018 - Equal Time newsletter

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