In the shadow of the Corona Virus: a special discussion in the Knesset on making the health services more accessible

In the shadow of the Corona Virus: a special discussion in the Knesset on making the health services more accessible

The discussion took place on Tuesday, 07.07.2020, by the Health and Welfare Committee. Access Israel will present in the discussion a position paper on the accessibility issues caused by the Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions

The position of Access Israel in the brief discussion on the subject of the lack of accessibility in the Israeli health services for the deaf and hard of hearing communities:

There is no doubt that the decision was very admirable and that there are many other subjects of accessibility that need to be taken note of in regards to people with disabilities in general and specifically for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Within the legislation of accessibility in the law for legal equality for people with disabilities law of 2005 the Health Ministry is required to pass regulations on the subject of accessibility of service within its operations.

It is important to understand that the Israeli health system is as of 2020 not accessible to all disabilities and not just the deaf and hard of hearing population.

In order to make the system more accessible it is necessary to improve it in a number of ways mainly on the subject of customer service for people with disabilities.

The way to define the accessibility needs is within the regulations of the accessibility of the service in the health system.

The aforementioned regulations are meant to take care of numerous and critical subjects of the different disabilities, among them are accessible services, accessible communication, accessible furniture, accessible testing equipment, remote health technologies and more. These important regulations were supposed to be approved in 2006 and have yet to be implemented 15 years later.

Regulations that both the high Court of Justice and Access Israel have put forward have not been able to be approved by the Knesset yet.

We regard the legislation of these regulations with the highest importance and call for the Welfare and Health Committee to do everything in its power to make sure that the regulations will be approved as early as this year. In regards to the current state of the Covid-19 virus, and because of the lessons learned from the last few months, we call for an addition to the Accessibility Regulation of a chapter on the subject of accessible services during emergencies that covers everything. It should cover everything in regards to the treatment of special departments, medicines, medical equipment, home treatment, remote treatment, home examinations and more for the elderly and disabled populations.

In addition, this is an opportunity to raise another subject and to call for the legislation of accessible press conferences, receiving information in an accessible format in real time is especially crucial to the elderly and people with disabilities.

It is necessary to adhere to the regulations which state that every public press conference and especially in emergencies such as the one we are experiencing right now, is required to have a sign language translator that appears in the same frame besides the speaker.

Furthermore, there needs to be accessibility for people with hearing disabilities through transcription, alongside accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities and people with visual disabilities.   

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