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They want health facilities to be more accessible to people with special needs. “It’s not just about eliminating the bar

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The University Hospital in Krakow joins forces with architects to help people with disabilities move around medical facilities. Architectural barriers still exist. People in wheelchairs, blind and deaf people complain about problems with accessibility to various places in facilities.

It’s not easy to get to a doctor – says Tomasz Koźmiński from the For Heroes Foundation, who lost his eyesight as a result of surgery 30 years ago and doesn’t care about making an appointment. – Very often, accessibility is synonymous with accessibility for people in wheelchairs, and in addition, we have blind, visually impaired, hearing impaired and deaf people in society – he points out.

Mr. Sławomir Charmaj also came to the University Hospital in Krakow to take part in the conference, which is to draw attention to the problem of access to health facilities for people with special needs. The man had a traffic accident 16 years ago and is in a wheelchair.

– We see a problem, because if this problem affects a university hospital, which is a new hospital, it is easy for me to imagine what it looks like in other hospitals, other units – says Marcin Jędrychowski, director of the University Hospital in Krakow.

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While Mr. Sławomir can move around independently not only in the Krakow hospital, Mr. Tomasz had more than one problem. Together they managed, but this was not how it should have been. – We move along a wall or a curb, there is no such thing here. There are plenty of chairs, resting places and tables against the walls, so it’s a problem – says Mr. Tomasz.

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The Krakow hospital is looking for new solutions

The originator of the conference is the director of one of the most modern health facilities in Poland. The University Hospital in Krakow admitted its first patients in 2019. – In all facilities, we are no longer surprised that ramps and elevators for disabled people are being built. However, we forget about people with other disabilities, Jędrychowski points out.

The hospital has joined forces with Krakow architects and is looking for solutions to make life easier for those who, despite their disabilities, want to be as independent as possible. – It is not only about eliminating physical barriers, it is about creating an atmosphere in interiors that allows you to feel good, orient yourself and understand them – says Prof. Artur Jasiński, architect, Krakow Academy. Frycz Modrzewski. – We hope that other areas will also follow us and soon we will see at least the second edition of such a conference, which will concern public facilities: banks, offices – adds Jędrychowski.

What is no longer an obstacle for a person with physical disabilities is still an insurmountable barrier for the blind or deaf. – I need orientation points that will direct me to important places: registration, information point, elevator, stairs, toilet – explains Mr. Tomasz. – Accessibility will also result in greater independence of these people, as well as their greater participation in social and professional life – emphasizes Mr. Sławomir.

The Boys' Home in Broniszewice lost part of its subsidy.  The voivode changes his mind

The Boys’ Home in Broniszewice lost part of its subsidy. The voivode changes his mind11/06 | The nuns running the Boys’ Home in Broniszewice (Greater Poland Voivodeship) reported that part of their subsidy had been taken away. This would mean that the facility, which accommodates 67 disabled people, would not be able to operate for four months of the year. When the news spread, the voivode of Greater Poland posted on social media assuring that “DPS in Greater Poland will not be left without support.”TVN24

Government actions

People with disabilities complain that accessibility is still not a standard, even though an act has been in force for 4 years that obliges public entities to ensure accessibility for people with special needs.

– This is a process and it will continue. Additional problems arise in historic buildings, and implementing full accessibility in such a space involves very large financial outlays – points out Tomasz Sługocki, accessibility coordinator, Lower Silesian Marshal’s Office.

The government assures that it is working on this process. – We have been implementing the government’s “Accessibility plus” program since 2019, which is almost five years of the program’s implementation. PLN 18 billion are funds that have been invested in broadly understood accessibility – assures Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, deputy minister at the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy.

The latest report of the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy shows that the accessibility level is approximately 41 percent. 57,000 entities took part in the study, including schools, courts, local governments and clinics. – Every person with disabilities has the right to file a complaint against any public institution for lack of accessibility to services provided by a given facility – adds Jarosińska-Jedynak.

Mr. Tomasz and Mr. Sławomir hope that there will be fewer and fewer reasons for complaints.

Main photo source: TVN24

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