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Disability Equality

Disabled accessIn this section:

The Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 [1] and 2005 [2] (DDA) made it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in connection with employment or the provision of goods, facilities and services for a reason related to their disability. Legal protections were transferred from the Disability Discrimination Act to the Equality Act 2010 [3].

The Equality Act 2010 replaced a number of antidiscrimination laws, making a single Act in which people with protected characteristics are protected from discrimination with respect to employment and access to goods, facilities and services. There are 9 protected characteristicsunder the Act, including disability.

The Equality Act 2010 built on and extended protection from disability discrimination, including a definition of disability, protection from discrimination arising from disability, indirect discrimination and protection for people associated with a disabled person e.g. carers or parents.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as ‘someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. It is important to note that not all disabilities are visible; disabilities include sight impairments, hearing impairments, physical/mobility impairments, mental health conditions, learning difficulties and some medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, multiple sclerosis).

The Equality Act 2010 legislation applies to all service providers. This topic outlines the legal responsibilities of the dental practice with respect to providing accessible dental services for those with disabilities and provides examples of how to improve the accessibility of dental practices.

Throughout this topic:

  • References to the Equality Act are to the Equality Act 2010 unless otherwise stated.
  • Sources of Information may include publications still referring to the DDA, however the advice given is still relevant.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission superseded the Disability Rights Commission in 2007.