A disabled woman was turned away from a disability assessment centre because she couldn’t use the stairs.
Sandra Hall, 37, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair, has said she was “humiliated and disgusted” by the ordeal.
Ms Hall was attending the assessment centre in Croydon for a fitness-to-work evaluation in July. She says she gave the centre prior notice that she is unable to walk unaided and is wheelchair bound.
But on arrival, staff told her they did not have the facilities to accommodate her wheelchair, according to ITV news.
Ms Hall was told that in the event of an emergency she would have to use the stairs to leave the building rather than the lift, because wheelchair users are banned from using lifts under health and safety restrictions.
As she was unable to use the stairs she was told it would be a risk to allow her to access the first floor of the building.
She was instead advised to carry out a 14-mile round trip to Balham to complete her assessment, which is a ground-floor facility
Ms Hall said: “I have never felt so humiliated and upset and disgusted in all my life.
“For a place that is meant to be for disabled people it is not really disabled-friendly.”
On the centre’s website a notice warns of the emergency evacuation regulations, but it says support for those unable to use the stairs is available if prior notice is given.
It says: “The centre can be accessed by lift but if an emergency evacuation of the building is required, such as a fire alarm, the lift cannot be used. There are 42 steps to the ground floor.
“If you think that you would have difficulty going down the stairs in the event of an emergency or would need assistance from another person, please ring the appointments helpdesk number on your appointment letter at least two days before your appointment date so we can ensure that we provide support for you on the day.”
A spokesman for Maximus UK, which runs the service, told theIndependent: “Whenever a customer informs us that they have mobility issues we arrange for them to be seen at another local centre that has assessment rooms on the ground floor. It is important that they let us know in advance. There is a box on the benefit application form specifically for this.”