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Partners in practice

Press release issued: 29 August 2002

Media release
Partners in practice

A pioneering course in disability equality for healthcare professionals using the skills of disabled people is to be set-up in the South West.

The consortium, led by Bristol University and including the University of the West of England and the Peninsula Medical School, has been awarded £250,000 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) over three years to develop the new teaching programme.

Building on the existing innovative work at Bristol and experience of the consortium, the programme will develop partnerships with other stakeholders in the area of disability and healthcare.

The programme aims to challenge existing practices and attitudes. Joint ventures between disabled people and health educators will become a reality, enabling disabled people to have direct influence on the education of their future healthcare providers.

Disabled people have a history of oppression, disadvantage and disempowerment. Two areas of special focus for their campaigns for equality are education and health provision. Although the General Medical Council has long recognised disability within the undergraduate medical curriculum, understanding the impact of disability is important for all healthcare professionals. The programme will raise standards of healthcare for disabled people and breakdown barriers, resulting in more disabled people entering the healthcare professions.

Dr Margaret Byron, Consultant Rheumatologist and Senior Lecturer in Disability at Bristol University and Director of the disability equality project, said: "We are delighted with the award. Working with the Access Unit, disabled people already contribute to our medical students' course from planning through to delivery. The opportunity to develop a programme suitable for student nurses, doctors and other therapists to learn together is very exciting.

"Although this award is very timely in the light of Educational Needs becoming a remit of the Disability Discrimination Act, our aim goes beyond satisfying the Act. We are looking for a sea-change in institutional attitudes."

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Copyright: 2002 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Thursday, 29-Aug-2002 17:24:18 BST

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