Public Defender has issued a statement addressing the Ministry of Health with a general proposal to replace the model of granting disability status.
As underlined in the statement, on October 25, 2022, the Public Defender made a general proposal to the Minister of IDPs from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and called on him to replace the medical model of granting disability status with a biopsychosocial model as soon as possible, as well as to instruct the institutions determining the disability status to take into account the individual needs of persons with disabilities during the evaluation process and to eliminate the practice of using the term “incapable of work” in medical documents.
“The Public Defender was applied by a blind person with severe disabilities, who said that the medical-social examination report issued by a medical clinic for the determination of his disability status indicated that, as a person with severe disabilities, he was “incapable of work”.
In determining the disability status, the authorized medical institutions are guided by Order No. 1/n of the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia of January 13, 2003 – “On the approval of instructions for the procedure for determining the disability status”. According to the order, after evaluation, the medical documents of all persons with severe disabilities shall indicate that they are “incapable of work”,” reads the statement.
As noted, for years, the Public Defender’s reports have been drawing attention to the practice of systemic discrimination of persons with disabilities through the use of the medical model. Inter alia, the Public Defender has repeatedly called on the Government of Georgia to replace the medical model of granting disability status with the biopsychosocial model as soon as possible.
As the Public Defender noted, indicating in the medical examination report of persons with severe disability status that they are “incapable of work” incites their discriminatory treatment and increases the risk of their exclusion from the labor market. “In addition, making a blanket assessment regarding all persons with severe disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, that they are not able to enter into employment relations and to work, due to the severity of their status, further reinforces the stereotyped attitudes towards them and indicates the need for the immediate introduction of a human rights-based approach,” reads the statement.