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44-47 DISABLED LIFTS:SPN Master pages 19/11/08 01:15 Page 2
spnfeature
Pool lifts set for
HIGHER PROFILE?
Fewer than 30% of local authorities in the UK are thought to offer disabled
swimmers the use of a pool lift chair or hoist into the water. The figure for
other commercial pools is expected to be much lower. Almost 15 years after
the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, the Government is set
to look again at the provisions set out in the regulations and how they apply
to disabled swimmers needing better direct access to swimming pools
T
he provision of pool lifts and hoists The factors for swimming pools are often “The Act is not compliant so there is no
into swimming pools in Britain is about more than just costs and need. legal enforcement process for the
to come under the spotlight as a It would be unreasonable to expect a provision of facilities. This is where
review of the 1995 Disability Discrimination small hotel with a pool or a small leisure disabled organisations themselves have a
Act gets under way early next year. centre to offer the same pool lift options as roll to play to inform us of their needs and
Currently the DDA requires swimming a larger local authority pool or leisure centre. requirements.”
pool owners and managers – to make It is also often a practical problem where Suntrap Systems are specialists in the
‘reasonable adjustments’ in any provision older pools don’t have room and haven’t market for pool accessories particularly
for disabled lifts in pools as part of wider been designed for access to a pool lift. imported manual and fully automatic lifts and
responsibilities to provide adequate access But it seems now the Government wants hoists. Managing Director Janet Cornthwaite
and facilities. to ask disabled organisations to see if the said: “I think it’s fair to say that lifts designed
As yet there is no specific law impact of the DDA has seen services in the UK are often very expensive and very
determining exactly what this means in improve. An option is to be more forceful traditional in their approach. The winch
terms of the provision of facilities at pools. on the provision of lifts. system where you have to move the whole
In other words it is voluntary. A DHSS spokesman said that a review of chair around and position it over the pool
This has led to some confusion within the Act was part of standard Government before lowering it is slow and not easy to use.
the pool industry as to what they need to policy where there are always tests to see “I also think they are not particularly
do to meet the requirements of the Act. what the public’s requirements are. comfortable or dignified. I think the end
user of the lifts hasn’t been given much say
in the matter.
“In the United States which is where we
are supplied from, we benefit from having
the very latest in technology. They started
earlier over there in the 1970’s as a result
of the Vietnam War and were able to
understand and develop what the end user
needed far more. I think this has been an
enormous benefit.”
Prices of imported lifts has been
affected by the movements of the pound
against the dollar.
“At the moment a manual lift will cost
just under £2,000. A battery assisted lift will
cost £2,100 and that gives a smooth battery
assisted lowing. The Portable Pro which will
cost £5,000 has a number of advantages.
The unit is very small and manageable and
can be adjusted easily and can be moved
anywhere around the poolside.
It isn’t always easy for pool owners and
Three of the Suntrap Systems
managers to work with pool lifts.
range of lifts and hoists
Said Janet: “Pre war pools were not really
ABOVE: The EZ Pool Lift designed with the disabled in mind and
RIGHT: The Power EZ and the Portable Pro Pack
people still running these pools find there
44 swimming pool news DECEMBER 08 Digital edition available at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk
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