Posted 30.04.2020

On the 22nd of April we wrote to Minister Swann and others (View letter here) as part of a UK Wide collaborative effort seeking his support and public endorsement of 6 key principles of treatment for disabled people during this pandemic.

These principles are:

1. Our individual chance of benefiting from treatment should we have COVID-19 must not be influenced by how our lives are valued by society.

2. Where we have existing health conditions or impairments that are unrelated to our chance of benefiting from treatment, they must not play any part in decision-making regarding our equal right to access such treatment.

3. The fact that we might have significant levels of social care and support needs, or that we may do so in future as a result of the pandemic, should not make health staff think that we will not benefit from treatment.

4. We have the right to be fully involved in decisions about our own lives, including life and death decisions. Decisions should never be made without our involvement, or consideration of our best interests. There is no justification for policies based on age or learning disability that do not treat each of us with respect and as individuals. 

5. We all, and our advocates, have the right to know about decisions that may be made about us that will affect us.

6. Guidelines on the assessment, provision, and evaluation of treatment and care provided to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic must be developed in collaboration with disabled people’s organisations and representatives from human rights bodies.

We are pleased that the Minister has responded so swiftly to us on this and that he has fully publicly endorsed these principles. The Minister’s response is crucial at this time of great anxiety and distress for our community. The Minister’s letter can be read here.

Next Steps:

We call once more upon Chief Medical Officer and Chief Social Worker to follow the unequivocal lead of the Minister and provide clarity on their positions.

Our COVID-19 Survey has been one of the largest and most far reaching pieces we have undertaken. There is still time to complete by midnight tonight. Click here to complete and make your voice heard.

We will be working at pace to break this data down and provide an overview of how COVID-19 is really affecting our community. This will be shared publicly including with the Executive alongside recommendations.

Together as one and nothing about us without us!