Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed yesterdays approval of Parliament’s assessment of the progress made with the European disability strategy for the 2010-2020 period.
Parliament’s final position was voted in Brussels with a set of recommendations to the Commission and EU Member State’s governments, to enable about one in every six EU citizens to overcome barriers to participation on an equal basis.
Ms. Childers was tasked by Parliament’s Public Health committee with evaluating progress in terms of access to health.
Speaking after the vote, Ms. Childers said:
“We are still far from ensuring equal access to the highest attainable standard of health for all, as a fundamental right.
“Persons with disabilities need to be followed with the help of multidisciplinary specialist care. There is a lack of specific knowledge and awareness among healthcare providers, and this compounds the exclusion and poorer health outcomes that come with physical and sensory barriers.
“There is potential in European Reference Networks framework, together with other sources of EU funding and cross-border healthcare rights to improve the quality of treatment by pooling specialist knowledge and resources, but we need to review these structures with disability rights in mind.
“Legal protection against multiple and inter-sectional discrimination remains too weak in these contexts.
“This often leads to the denial of sexual and reproductive rights to girls and women with disabilities, and of the right to informed consent to treatment for those with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities.
“It remains a source of shame to our country that repeated promises to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities go unfulfilled. Ireland remains the only Member State of the European Union yet to do so.”