Fury over Do Not Resuscitate Notices
Disabled people have watched the unfolding stories about disabled and older people being asked to agree to sign Do Not Attempt to Resuscitate Notices with horror over the past few days.
DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “We have been horrified at the undervaluing of our lives and have joined with others to sign a statement, which upholds the principle that the NHS is for all of us and that judgements about our lives should in no way influence the treatment we are entitled to receive.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/fury-over-do-not-resuscitate-notices
Thousands struggle to buy food
There are growing concerns that people with specific medical conditions who are unable to shop for food are still not recognised as eligible for an emergency government delivery scheme.
Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at DR UK said: “We welcome the government scheme and would like to see the eligibility criteria widened to cover all those who for medical reasons or for reasons of physical distancing, need to stay at home.
“Supermarkets and their staff are pulling out all the stops to ramp up supply and staffing at this unprecedented time. But we know of many cases where people who need to be self-isolating are still having to visit shops in person as they cannot get the help they need, nor any timeslots they need for online delivery.”
Read more, including details on a petition, and more comment from Kamran Mallick and Fazilet Hadi, here:https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/thousands-struggle-buy-food
DR UK Receives Response from Disability Minister
The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has written to Kamran Mallick, CEO of DR UK, to provide assurances on the Coronavirus Act, as it applies to rights to care and support, special needs education and mental health. You can read his letter here: https://bit.ly/2V2Gq93
New risks for care home residents and staff
The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking to discharge hospital patients with and without Coronavirus to care homes.
Care homes are already struggling to care for residents with Coronavirus. They are experiencing high levels of staff absence and inadequate supplies of Personal Protection Equipment and hygiene products.
Fazilet Hadi said: “Social care continues to be undervalued and misunderstood by central government. While the NHS has been supported to act quickly to create new hospitals, there have been no equivalent bold moves of this scale, for people with Coronavirus living in the community.
“New services need to be established to support people with Coronavirus living at home or in residential settings, as well as those being discharged from hospital. Putting the lives of care home residents and staff at greater risk is not the answer.”
You can read the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-admission-and-care-of-people-in-care-homes
DR UK urges local authorities not to suspend Care Act Rights
Following the Coronavirus Act, which included provisions to suspend disabled people’s rights to care and support under the Care Act, the government has published its guidance for local authorities. The guidance describes the changes that local authorities can make to assessing and delivering care, where demand is too high or staffing resources too limited, and sets out the steps that directors of social care must take before announcing a departure from Care Act provisions.
Fazilet Hadi said: “DR UK urges local authorities not to suspend Care Act rights. There is a real danger that moving to new untested ways of assessing, delivering and prioritising care will lead to disabled people with high care needs falling through the cracks, being alone and unsupported.
“We would ask directors of social care to consult with organisations supporting disabled people throughout the crisis, to gain information and understanding of the lived experience of disabled people and to develop and monitor strategies that support and protect us. A serious omission from the guidance is not requiring directors of social care to consult with disabled people’s organisations in the lead up to making a decision to suspend Care Act rights, and we would urge local authorities to consult disabled people’s organisations as part of the process.”
Find out more about the Local Authority guidance for Care Act easements here:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-changes-to-the-care-act-2014/care-act-easements-guidance-for-local-authorities
Download a template letter to enable you to write to directors of social care in your local authority here: https://bit.ly/3aAIlIs
Social Care Ombudsman suspends work
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has suspended all casework activity that demands information from, or action by, local authorities and care providers, in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Fazilet Hadi said: “It really concerns me that we see government agencies stepping back from scrutinising the actions of local authorities and care providers, without putting other safeguards in place. Unfortunately during times of crisis, people can still be treated in unacceptable ways, and we should have agencies we can go to for redress.”
Read more here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/social-care-ombudsman-suspends-work
State must do more for disabled people’s incomes and safety – DBC
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has written an open letter to Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to call for emergency changes to the benefits system to ensure disabled and seriously unwell people are protected from further physical and financial harm during the covid-19 crisis.
The DBC is a network of over 100 organisations, including Disability Rights UK, with an interest in disability and social security.
Ken Butler, DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Officer said:
“Even before the Coronavirus crisis benefit cuts and austerity hit disabled people the hardest. The emergency measures proposed by the DBC are urgently needed to ensure the disabled people are fully protected during this crisis.”
Read more here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/march/disability-benefit-consortium-calls-emergency-covid-19-benefit-changes
Guidance for children and young people with SEND
The government has published guidance on how the needs of children and young people with SEND will be met during the coronavirus outbreak. It includes a number of frequently asked questions around provision for young people with EHC Plans. The guidance is available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people
DR UK statement on the Enable fund
The EnAble Fund for Elected Office is intended to cover the additional financial costs associated with a disability, that would otherwise prevent someone from seeking elected office. The Fund is provided by the Government Equalities Office and is administered by Disability Rights UK on behalf of the Local Government Association (LGA).
The government has postponed planned elections until 2021. Practically, this leaves potential candidates without a funding option for future elections as things stand. Read our statement on this here:https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/dr-uk-statement-enable-fund
Changes to court services
Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has announced changes to the operation of courts and tribunals buildings during the Coronavirus outbreak.
HMCTS has also issued guidance on how it will use telephone and video technology during the coronavirus outbreak.
The CEO of the service said: “In considering the suitability of video/audio, judges will consider issues such as the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing; any issues the use of video/audio technology may present for participants in the hearing, having regard to individuals’ needs; and any issues around public access to or participation in the hearing.”
More information can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/march/hmcts-use-video-and-telephone-hearings-during-coronavirus-outbreak