UK; Dentist forced to treat 99-year-old on street
A 99 year old lady was forced to have emergency dental treatment in a busy market street in Daventry, Northamptonshire, county in central England, due to her dentist premises not having adequate disabled access...
Mary Hedges, who uses a wheelchair, was unable to get into Daventry Dental Practice because officials have refused to let the owners install disabled access at its Grade II listed building.
The pensioner was forced to let her dentist check her teeth on the pavement outside, in the busy Market Square in Daventry, and said she had to put up with toothache because she could not be treated properly.
Mrs Hedges, from Woodford Halse, said: "It was very embarrassing, and I was really angry about it. There were a lot of people walking past when the doctor checked my teeth, but he was only doing his best in a bad situation.
"The work's only half done now because he couldn't do a proper job in the street. I've got a bit of pain in my teeth, but it's not too bad and I'm just going to put up with it now."
Dr Resh Diu, of Daventry Dental Practice, said every effort had been made to try to improve patient access to the historic building. He said: "Conservation officers need to live a little more in the real world".
Local authorities are increasingly concerned that many owners of historic buildings are unaware of their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the DDA) which is due to come into full effect in 2004 and applies equally in England, Scotland and Wales. Owners who do not respond in time may be liable to prosecution.
The number of businesses affected by this legislation is staggering. Every business employing more than 15 people must comply, as must schools and other educational establishments, all shops, banks, restaurants and other premises offering goods and services to the public, local and national government, and others. As a result, the Government delayed full implementation of the Act by nine years until 2004, by which time any physical alteration required to the fabric of premises must be made: Where... (b) any physical feature of premises occupied by the organisation, place the disabled person concerned at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, it is the duty of the organisation to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case for it to have to take in order to prevent the arrangements or feature having that effect. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Section 15 (1).