Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman at the Knesset August 8, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee is planning to discuss their proposal to postpone until 2021 the deadline for making Israeli health facilities accessible for people with disabilities.
This follows protests that were held on Wednesday morning in the Tel Aviv Government Complex by a group fighting for disabled rights. The protesters blocked parking access to the complex.
A 2016 regulation requires that health institutions be made accessible by 2018. The Arrangements Law stipulates that the health minister can extend the deadline for accessibility if several conditions are met, such as details of the present accessibility status of each facility, the expected date for implementing full accessibility and the suggested temporary solutions for alternate accessibility.
Despite this, the ministry submitted a request to the committee to postpone the health facilities accessibility deadline until 2021 without the required specifications necessary according to the Arrangements Law. This means that people with disabilities will not receive access to medical services in the next few years and will not receive access to alternative health facilities.
The Equal Rights Commission for People with Disabilities (ERCPD), within the Justice Ministry, expressed its opposition to the proposal, acting to ensure that the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee provide the required specifications and, if deemed a legal cause, make the accessibility process delay gradual rather than sudden.
“I am sure that if the accessibility deadline is delayed entirely without a gradual process and without proper funding and planning, we will not be able to make health services accessible,” said ERCPD Commissioner Avrami Toram. “We suspect that we will [reach] 2021 facing another request by the Health Ministry and its facilities for an additional delay.”
People with disabilities constitute 20% of the Israeli population, meaning that 20% of the Israeli population do not currently have access to the vital medical system.
“There is no need to elaborate in words on the importance of the health system for all citizens of the country, let alone those with disabilities,” Toram stated. “I expect that the health system and the health minister at its head will [bring] accessibility of all critical systems to the public.”
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