In 2021, in Partnership with the Physical Disability Council of NSW, Paraquad NSW, Muscular Dystrophy NSW and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, SCIA commissioned a survey to investigate the experiences of people with disabilities when accessing medical imaging / diagnostic imaging, and women’s health services in New South Wales.

The survey conducted received 112 responses and of the 118 specific services described, challenges and barriers were identified in 57% of experiences. Specifically, the following challenges and barriers to universal accessibility and their respective impact was identified:

· Lack of assistive technology or other accessible features on the premises of the medical facility;

· Lack of wheelchair manoeuvrability for power wheelchairs;

· Lack of disability awareness across staff and health professionals;

· Undue burden on people with disability to find alternative solutions when medical imaging or women’s health services of their choice are inaccessible (which includes additional costs, travel or risks to health due to alternative procedures sought);

· Increased wait times or delays obtaining diagnoses or abandonment of health screening altogether; and

· Emotional impact of poor experiences and treatment by health professionals.

The survey’s findings clearly indicate the inequitable experiences faced by people with physical disability accessing medical imaging and women’s health services in NSW.

It suggests that policy-makers need to take urgent action to address the above barriers and further research should be conducted across other states and territories to determine the extent of these issues across other jurisdictions.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE SURVEY. You will read about the individual responses explaining the extent of the impact and efforts people made to obtain medical imaging and women’s health services in New South Wales.