The accessibility of France's healthcare facilities to people with disabilities

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Legislative framework :

Art. 4, section 2a of Directive No. 2011/24

The French law of February 11, 2005 on equal opportunity, participation and citizenship for people with disabilities sets forth the principle by which "each individual with disabilities is entitled to accommodation to secure equal access to all programs and services. By virtue of this obligation, an individual with disabilities is guaranteed both access to the fundamental rights belonging to all citizens and the ability to fully exercise citizenship."

French law requires public and private healthcare facilities alike to make their public areas accessible so as to allow people with disabilities to move about freely (access ramps) and understand all information on display (low vision-adapted signage, guides for the hard of hearing, etc.)

Public parking areas belonging to the facility must have at least one reserved disabled parking space. This requirement applies to both indoor garages and outdoor lots.

There must be an obstacle-free pathway in from outside that is wide enough to allow a person on foot to pass a person using a wheelchair, a person pushing a stroller, or a person using a cane.

Entryways, reception areas, waiting rooms and areas where care is provided must be easily accessible to all people, whether or not they have a disability.

Any facility open to the public that offers a public restroom must offer at least one handicap-accessible toilet. When restrooms are separated by gender, a handicap-accessible toilet must be set up in each restroom.

Finally, seeing-eye or service dogs cannot be denied access to areas open to the public (reception and waiting areas). However, dogs may not enter areas where care is to be provided under sterile conditions.

France's health care facilities had a deadline of January 1, 2015 to become compliant with the law. Since the objectives set for that date were not met, order No. 2014-1090 of September 26, 2014 has loosened the requirements by rolling out a scheduled accessibility calendar (Ad'Ap). This calendar extends the deadline past 2015 for public facilities (ERP) to perform accessibility works.

Each of France's healthcare facilities is now able to provide precise information on its level of accessibility to persons with disabilities.

Bringing legal action for violations

On October 1, 2015, it became a criminal offense for a public facility to be non-handicapaccessible, unless the facility has submitted an accessibility plan along with an accommodation schedule to the “préfecture.” If you observe a demonstrable violation, you can file a criminal complaint with your local “gendarmerie” or “commissariat de police.”

Your criminal complaint will then be forwarded over to the prosecutor (“procureur de la République”) with the local court (“Tribunal judiciaire”) that has jurisdiction over the location where the infraction was committed.

You can also submit your complaint directly to the office of litigant services (« service d'accueil unique du justiciable »)/SAUJ at the court (“Tribunal Judiciaire ”) by registered letter  (application form attached). The letter must specify:

The French Justice Ministry's website lists contact information to help you find the appropriate court (« tribunal judiciaire ») by entering the name of the town in which the provider is located.

For more information: Healthcare professionals' facilities