/What Suzy Davies said about disabled access & defibrillators

What Suzy Davies said about disabled access & defibrillators



The latest short debate looked at two related issues that best demonstrate the positives of the Senedd’s petitions system as they’ve both received lots of public attention and influenced government policy to a certain degree.

A few years ago there was a petition calling for defibrillators to be made available in all public places (Kickstarting Welsh Hearts) – Suzy Davies has long called for first aid training to be included in the National Curriculum, so is consistent in her support there.

A second petition recently submitted by the Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People called for a “scores on the doors” system for disability access (I briefly wrote about it here). The Petitions Committee recently published a report on disability access to public transport too.

The petition still needs to be considered by the committee before any report is drafted or the Welsh Government decide what to do. It is, however, worth pointing out that every petition that receives over 5,000 signatures triggers a full debate by AMs – so if you want to sign the disability access petition you can do so here.

Proponent: Suzy Davies AM (Con, South Wales West)
Subject: “Getting in there: Scores on the doors for disability access and defibrillators”

Summary

  • Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People is calling for an access certificate ranking all publicly-accessible buildings and public transport from 0-5 based on their accessibility and available facilities for the disabled.
  • It’s hoped places that receive high ratings will encourage others to improve their own facilities, comparing it with how food hygiene ratings have driven up standards in food safety.
  • A place with an idealised “5 score” would be wheelchair accessible, inclusive for people with hearing or sight problems (i.e. braille menus, staff trained in sign language), have an accessible toilet, allow guide dogs on the premises, are autism-friendly and dementia aware.
  • There should be some kind of symbol to indicate a defibrillator is available too.
  • It shouldn’t be seen as a replacement of obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, nor should owners feel obligated to do anything to comply with the scores: it’s purely about public information and “soft persuasion”.

Government Response

Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth)

  • The petition “has merit” and he welcomes ideas on how such a system would work in practice – though he would prefer to keep it “as simple as possible”.
  • There’s a broader challenge in terms of the age of buildings/suitability for disability adaption and the attitudes of staff.
  • There’s a commitment to improving the survival rates of people who suffer a heart attack so it’s important there’s a greater awareness amongst the public of where defibrillators are and how to use them; a recent initiative saw 13,000 school children taught how to use them and how to do CPR.

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This, however, isn’t:

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