Handicapped women 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Wheelchair-bound patients are usually examined by a doctor on the ground floor
of health clinics – superseding the need to provide handicap accessibility – but
this option is gradually disappearing. Only in November 2018 will health
facilities be bound by law and regulations to make all places accessible –
including to the blind, deaf and physically impaired.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health Minister Yael German approved guidelines
to make health services accessible. The law – passed in 2008 – included specific
guidelines to implement accessibility.
Orli Boni, the chief occupational
therapist of the Health Ministry, told The Jerusalem Post
that even before the
law was passed, health facilities were encouraged to start making changes in
health fund clinics, hospitals and other facilities so the disabled could
receive the health services. The lag time in implementation came because each
guideline is debated in the Knesset by committees.
to the guidelines cite the high cost of retrofitting buildings or construction
of new ones.
Even though two ministers approved the regulations, there
remain more regulations that have yet to be approved, Boni said. Approved
guidelines include parking areas for the disabled, signs, steps and ramps,
auditory warnings, acoustics and braille. Making health services accessible to
the disabled reduces the gap in healthcare, she said.
Boni said that
voluntary organizations representing people with varying disabilities have been
partners from the start in pointing out problems and making
So far, 100 “accessibility officers” have been appointed (an
additional task to their regular jobs) in health funds, hospitals, district
health offices and other facilities. Boni said there have been eight full-day
training sessions for officers and that their assignment is to facilitate
changes to make premises accessible to the disabled.
“There are still
problems in implementing the 2008 law; money is being allocated by the
institutions only gradually, and we are doing surveys of facilities’
accessibility,” she said.
The cost of making all facilities accessible
was once estimated at NIS 200 million, said Boni, but in the end it will
probably turn out to be much more.People are encouraged to send
complaints or report inaccessible areas by email to email@example.com