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Access denied: Blind cancer patient refused guide dog in private hospital

A blind, cancer patient has been denied the right to have his guide dog at his bedside in Monash Medical Centre.

John Hardie told 3AW Mornings unless he could pay large fees upfront, his guide dog Heidi would not be welcome at the Hospital.

“I’ve been into Jessie McPherson three times during this year for surgery, on each occasion unless I could upfront large sums of money I could not have my dog there for support and assistance,” said Mr Hardy.

“The fees ranged from 48 dollars an hour during the day, up to 96 dollars an hour on Sundays.”

Mr Hardie has had a number of guide dogs over the years and says he has never felt any discrimination until now.

“Shes a chocolate brown Labrador, trained by seeing eye dogs Australia. She is registered and harnessed,” Mr Hardie said.

“Their main concern was that my dog would attack me.”

Documents provided to Mr Hardie from the hospital outlined excessive requirements, most of which a trained guide dog already adheres too, including;

“The animal must not be left alone with the patient.

“They must guarantee the animal is good tempered, clean, well-groomed and have trimmed nails.”

Mr Hardie was forced to move to Homesglen Private Hospital for the last seven weeks.

“Everyday, 24 hours a day she’s with me. I’ve had her for six years, I can’t see why she would attack me,” said Mr Hardie.

“I’ve been through the Australian Human Rights Commission but the hospital refuse to conciliate or discuss it.

“I have no option but to take it to the Federal court, to prevent other people being exposed like this.”

Click PLAY to hear John Hardie’s story 

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