Does your pharmacy comply with the Equality Act 2010?

The Equality Act 2010 (the ‘Act’) consolidated previous legislation concerning a range of discrimination including on the grounds of disability.

How does the Act define ‘disabled’?

A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. An impairment is treated as long term if it has lasted (or is likely to last) at least 12 months.

Who is a ‘service provider’?

The need to make adjustments to buildings affects service providers who provide services, goods or facilities to the public or a section of the public. This includes pharmacy premises.

The three requirements

The Act sets out three requirements as follows:

  • Where something puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, there is a duty to take easonable steps to avoid the disadvantage
  • Where a physical feature of a property puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, the Act imposes a duty to take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage
  • Where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage without an auxiliary aid, the Act imposes a duty to take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids.

What is a ‘substantial disadvantage’?

A substantial disadvantage is one which is more than minor or trivial and the comparison is with a non-disabled person. The pharmacist or owner is not required to take a step which would fundamentally alter the nature of the service. In the case of any physical features, the pharmacist may either take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage or take reasonable steps to adopt a reasonable alternative for providing the service.

What can I change?

Examples of how you could make changes to your pharmacy to comply with the Act include:

  • Providing auxiliary aids such as handrails
  • Installing ramps/automatic doors to any entrance. easonable steps to avoid the disadvantage
  • Where a physical feature of a property puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, the Act imposes a duty to take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage
  • Where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage without an auxiliary aid, the Act imposes a duty to take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids.

Take care to audit your pharmacy to check whether adjustments should be made to comply with the Equality Act 2010. If you discover any issues these are best addressed swiftly.

  • The above is a general overview and you should seek specific legal advice for your individual concerns.

Asfa Javed is an associate in the Real Estate team at Charles Russell LLP, asfa.javed@charlesrussell.co.uk