The opinion was issued in the procedure regarding the complaint of AA, filed on behalf of her underage daughter, against the General Hospital “Sveti Luka” in S, due to discrimination on the grounds of disability. The complaint states that the children’s ward of the General Hospital is inaccessible to children with disabilities who use wheelchairs to move. It was also stated that there is a concrete ramp next to the mezzanine floor that does not meet the standards for unimpeded movement and access for people with disabilities. Namely, as the daughter of the complainant was admitted to the hospital for treatment, during her stay, and while going to specialist checkups outside the ward, she had to be transported down the stairs due to the inaccessibility of the facility. It is further stated that the children’s ward does not have a toilet wheelchair with the help of which persons with disabilities could maintain personal hygiene, and thus persons in wheelchairs are deprived of the right to personal hygiene. The statement of the General Hospital states that the daughter of the complainant was hospitalized in the children’s ward in the period from September 10 to 21, 2021. It is further stated that the building in which the children’s ward is located was built in 1950, as well as that the first floor of the building is used by OU physical medicine and rehabilitation, which has a separate entrance from the courtyard, while the children’s ward is on the second floor. The statement also states that from the courtyard path there is a concrete ramp, a part of which is a staircase, as well as that the ramp with the staircase and a handrail leads to the front door of the facility, and that from the front door there is a staircase with a handrail leading to the door of the children’s ward. It is stated that the possibility of building a ramp to the front door of the children’s ward was considered on several occasions, however, that an adequate and safe construction and technical solution could not be found in the existing conditions. Namely, the statement pointed out that in order to overcome this type of obstacle and enable safe access to immobile patients, the ward staff always provides the necessary assistance in transport up and down the stairs, from the front door of the building to the entrance to the ward. It was also stated that the toilets in the ward have been renovated and have access adapted for people with disabilities, but that there are no toilet wheelchairs, and that the staff in the ward provides the necessary assistance in maintaining hygiene to all patients with disabilities. Upon the conducted procedure, the Commissioner gave the opinion that the children’s ward of the General Hospital “Sveti Luka” is not accessible for persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs, which violates the provisions of Articles 6, 17 and 26 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, in relation to the provision of Article 13 of the Law on Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities. The General Hospital “Sveti Luka” in S. is recommended to provide a toilet wheelchair for personal hygiene of patients with disabilities, to ensure full accessibility, either with a new layout within the facility or by organizing work in another manner, and take all necessary measures to ensure accessibility of the children’s ward for people using wheelchairs or having difficulty moving, as well as to take care in the future not to violate the legal regulations on the prohibition of discrimination.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY