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Coronavirus COVID-19  Disabled People’s Frequently Asked Questions

I thought it would be useful for my Wales-based disabled readers, to read the following FAQs concerning the Coronavirus outbreak. We need all the help and support we can get, so it is important to be armed with information such as this, which was kindly put together by Disability Wales. 

Stay safe everyone.

***

Do we have any answers from Welsh government on protections for disabled people who access social care?   

Visits from care or healthcare workers, who would normally come and help with your daily needs or social care, will be able to carry on as normal. But carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature (above 37.8 °C) and/or new and continuous cough. 

You may find this guidance on home care provision useful: COVID-19: guidance on home care provision on GOV.UK 

Will the Coronavirus Bill have any impact on social care in Wales? 

Disability Wales has serious concerns about the implications of the Coronavirus Bill on human rights, especially the rights of specific groups, including disabled people. 

We welcome the UK Government’s amendment to ensure the Corona Virus Bill is to be renewed every six months, given the sweeping nature of the powers. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the Bill gives Ministers the powers to suspend the key provisions in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 unless services are needed to protect an adult from abuse or neglect or a risk of abuse or neglect. Unlike the suspension of the Care Act (2014) duties in England, there is no express requirement to avoid breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights included. 

We call on the Assembly to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of disabled people by ensuring that no services are withdrawn without undertaking an assessment to verify whether there would be a breach of human rights.  See link to joint statement issued http://www.disabilitywales.org/coronavirus-bill-statement/   

Will carers/disabled people be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) i.e. gloves, aprons, masks? 

Welsh Government are taking steps to enhance the arrangements in Wales for protecting our front-line health and social care staff who are caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. 

As social care has an essential role along with health care in response to COVID-19, PPE will also be released for use by social care providers.   

You can contact your local Direct Payment Support provider who will be able to signpost you to where you can get hold of PPE.  

How are ‘vulnerable’ people in Wales being identified or can they register themselves? 

Identification of those classed as high risk will be done through GP/hospital medical records. 

If you have been identified as being at high risk, you will receive a letter from the Welsh Government setting out the advice and sources of help and support in your local community. If you are employed, this is also proof that you will not be able to go to work while you are shielding and can be shared with your employer. If you are able to, you can work from home, if your job allows it. You will not need to get a fit note from your GP. 

If you need help from the welfare system visit Universal Credit on GOV.UK website. 

If you believe you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people listed above and you have not received a letter, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.  

Will testing be made available to carers / Personal Assistants and those being supported (disabled people)? 

Welsh Government are aiming to roll out testing beyond the NHS to social care.  They are increasing the capacity to do this.  It won’t happen immediately but it will be introduced in the coming weeks, with significant extra testing being introduced for other key workers including social care providers. 

Those providing social care will be tested if they present Corona like symptoms and they can then be returned to the workplace if the test provides the right result. 

We are yet to hear whether testing will be introduced for those being supported. 

I am unable to get a food delivery slot online at any supermarket what can I do? 

There are many local shops (butchers, greengrocers etc) offering a food delivery service or pick up.  You could try contacting local shops in your area to see is this is available.  

If you are online and use social media you can post to local community pages on Facebook for example, to find out what food delivery services are being provided in your area.   

Another option is to contact your local Community Voluntary Service (CVC) they may know of volunteers or services who could help you.  Here is a link to CVCs across Wales: https://www.gvs.wales/about-us/wcva-county-voluntary-councils-cvcs-and-volunteer-centres-vcs 

Or contact our office on 029 20887325 email: info@disabilitywales.org and we will do our best to look into the options for you, if you are unable to. 

My Carers / Personal Assistants have all called in sick due to Corona like symptoms, what shall I do? 

If you receive support through an agency then contact them straight away to inform them of the situation.  They will be able to advise you. 

If you do not receive support through an agency then contact your local social services to seek advice immediately.   

You can find a link to your local council’s website here: https://www.wlga.wales/welsh-local-authority-links 

I need to order and collect my repeat prescription/s.  What do I do as I’m classed as ‘vulnerable’ and I need to self-isolate? 

Many GP surgeries are restricting access to the surgery itself at this time.  You may have to order your repeat prescriptions over the telephone.  Please telephone your surgery to check what their procedure is during this Coronavirus pandemic.   

Ask family, friends or neighbours for assistance during this time, if this is possible.  In many cases prescriptions are being sent to the nearest pharmacy to people and then deliveries are being made to people’s homes where necessary.  Explain that you are self-isolating and will need someone to deliver your medication to you. 

Make sure you order your repeats in plenty of time.  It may take a little longer than usual to obtain your medications due to the high demand.  However, there is no need to stock on your medication as this can lead to medication shortages.   

Contact your GP and pharmacy to check procedures during 26is time as processes may vary across Wales.     

Useful sources for information: 

Public Health Wales: guidance on social distancing for everyone in Wales including disabled people: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults/#  

Social Care Wales: https://socialcare.wales/news-stories/the-latest-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19 

Dewis Wales: Find local and national organisations that can help you https://www.dewis.wales/ 

All information has been taken from official sources and understood to be correct at time of publishing. 

Love To Hate You

Dedicated to the usual right-wing suspects…

From Wikipedia:

Erasure (/ɪˈrʒə/) are an English synth-pop duo, consisting of singer and songwriter Andy Bell and songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke. They formed in London in 1985. Their debut single was “Who Needs Love Like That“. With their fourth single, “Sometimes“, the duo established themselves on the UK Singles Chart, becoming one of the most successful artists of the late 1980s to mid-1990s.

From 1986 to 2007, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 40 hits in the UK. By 2009, 34 of their 37 chart-eligible singles and EPs had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10. At the 1989 Brit Awards, Erasure won the Brit Award for Best British Group.[1] They also had three Top 20 US hits with the songs “A Little Respect“, and “Always“, the highest charting US single (on the Billboard Hot 100) being their 1988 single “Chains of Love“, which hit #12 on the chart.

The duo is most popular in their native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark, and Sweden) and also in South America (especially Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru).[citation needed] The band is also popular within the LGBT community, for whom the openly gay Bell has become an icon.[2] Erasure have penned over 200 songs and have sold over 25 million albums worldwide.[3][4]

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”

 

Today was Jeremy Corbyn’s last Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Watching it I was humbled, inspired, proud and my respect for this truly, truly remarkable human being could not greater. I genuinely have never met a better human being. He embodies absolutely everything good about the human species, no matter what is thrown at him. In terms of the humanity & selflessness towards others, he is the Cuba of human beings. Unfortunately, being proven to be correct, and on the correct side of history AGAIN as he is now in our greatest time of need, was not enough to win power as Prime Minister. This, again at our greatest time of need, is a genuinely devastating loss to the UK and our comrades all over the world. That he chose his last PMQs to fight for the voiceless, the vulnerable and ALL of us, with not a thought for himself or grandstanding, again showed the monumental, and for many, fatal mistake the UK voting electorate made.

For what it is worth, at this current time, I genuinely think it is incredibly self-indulgent of The Labour Party to continue with this leadership contest. By all means declare the winner, but it seems nothing short of daft to not pass the baton on AFTER all this crisis has settled down. We should not be focusing on internal matters at this time. The team in place know each other well and are best suited to dealing with things now. Not because whoever takes over will be incompetent, not at all, but because why change things, a team that has worked together for several years now, at such a time of national emergency?! If I was an ‘outsider’ I would be calling out The Labour Party for such self indulgence. But we are where we are.

So I will conclude by saying THANK YOU Jeremy Corbyn for changing society, politics and my life for the better. THANK YOU for setting such an example of how we as society should conduct ourselves. Thank you for having the resolve to take planned assassination attempts (see Darren Osborne court records), literal punches to the head, and literally the most lies, hate and worst of human behaviour that has ever been thrown at any political party leader in the UK (and beyond). You remain standing, they never crushed you, your resolve held out. I look forward to still fighting the good fight side by side with you, Jeremy. I will be immensely proud to do so. I know you will always be there, until your last breath.

El Pueblo Unido James Sera Vencido! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

As Joni Mitchell sang: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”.

Adam Samuels

 

Emergency on Planet Earth

THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

***

Monday 30th March

This video was taken from YouTube and deserves everyone’s attention.

A challenge by Dr. Rupert Read to the UK Government: take responsibility for having got us into this public health disaster, and don’t try to put the blame for lockdowns on us.

***

Apologies for the fact that I am using a link from the Metro newspaper, but the article highlights something that we should all be concerned about. At least those of us with a heart and conscience.

People with Down syndrome could be left to die of coronavirus to ‘save’ medical supplies

***

Every day I am finding more and more positive aspects to this lock-down. One of these must be introduction to the wonderful world of the Tufnell Park Film Club.

The club was set up in July 2012 by Nigel Smith and Wayne Gooderham.  Nigel’s been a movie-geek since he first went to the cinema to see Superman II. You can follow him on Twitter at @nigelcsmith. Wayne has just about got over the discovery that Robert de Niro wore a bald wig in Taxi Driver. You can follow him on Twitter at @wb_gooderham.

Under normal circumstances they show films every week in a local pub. While the boozer is closed and we’re all staying at home, they are introducing one film each week and encouraging everyone to watch it. All are welcome to join in, wherever you are. You can see what films they have already chosen here.

This week’s ‘Film Club at Home’ selection is Ingmar Bergman’s classic The Seventh Seal, which we’d originally planned to show in tribute to Max Von Sydow who died earlier in March.

If you’ve never seen The Seventh Seal before, we hope Nigel’s introduction here will encourage you to do so. As he says, it’s only 90 minutes long and has more jokes than you might think. The film is widely available online and we’ve put links on the website. Like last week, do let us know what you think of the film and we’ll publish a section of responses online. From next week on we’ll start visiting our ‘also rans’ list with Woody Allen’s classic of cinema-as-escapism, The Purple Rose of Cairo.

***

Saturday 28th March

The following message was sent to staff members at the Neuro Therapy Centre in Saltney, Chester.

Hi both

I hope this message finds you both well in these surreal times.

I am contacting you in the hope that you may be able to suggest some exercises that I can do to strengthen my upper body from home during this awful coronavirus crisis. I have just bought a pedal exerciser from eBay and expect it to arrive next Wednesday.

I am determined to do all I can to prevent the onset of this virus. I was in hospital with a chest infection at the end of January. When I asked the doctor if there was anything I could do to prevent such infections again he said that I should work on my upper body muscles to make sure they are healthy.

Any help you can provide at this worrying time would be much appreciated.

Stay safe and I hope to see you at the Neuro Therapy Centre soon.

Nathan Lee Davies

***

Change.org Petition:

Today frontline NHS staff will begin to be tested for coronavirus. Care home manager Mark says that care workers must be urgently tested too as they look after the elderly and vulnerable who are at risk. Will you help by signing his petition?
Test all frontline care workers for coronavirus
Mark Topps started this petition to Boris Johnson and it now has 11,680 signatures
Sign now with a click

I’m the manager of a residential care home and facing one of the toughest times we have faced. I have seen staff having to self-isolate and residents doing the same, and there are hundreds of other care staff across the country in the same boat.

Every day we go to the care home and deliver care to the elderly and most vulnerable with limited supplies of gloves, aprons, masks, hand sanitiser etc. We are not being tested and nor are the residents. How do we know that we are not spreading it to them, or leaving the care homes and spreading COVID-19 to our families and members of the public? The truth is we don’t know.

That’s why we’re calling on the Government to urgently ensure care workers to be tested. 

The same dilemma is being faced by everyone working in a care home, domestic staff, cooks, administrators and volunteers. The Government classed us as unskilled and yet now we’re expected to be the frontline workforce, keeping residents out of hospitals and protecting your loved ones. 

The Government have announced the virus is spreading at a faster pace than expected and currently the only tests being done are to people who require hospital admission.

The knowledge that I could be spreading this with residents I work with and my family is the worst feeling. As a dad of three beautiful children -I struggle to know what the most responsible thing to do is.

There are care workers up and down the country delivering care into peoples homes, possibly spreading the virus further into other families.

I am petitioning for all care workers to be tested! We are your front line! Please help us by signing

Care Workers deserve better! We deserve to be tested and we deserve equipment to do our jobs!

Sign now with a click
At Change.org, we believe in the voice of everyday people. Is there something that you want to change?

***

Wednesday 25th March

This is obviously a very worrying time for us all. How on earth are the British public supposed to survive on a basic rationing of their favourite soap-operas?

If the worst happens, and I start to have symptoms of coronavirus, one of the first things that I will do is record a video-diary to chart the progress of my illness. I believe this is the socially-responsible thing to do, and I am surprised that others haven’t done so already, save from one or two in the establishment. #justsaying

VIDEO: JOHNSON TOOK 11 DAYS FROM ‘GATHERINGS HAVE LITTLE EFFECT’ TO THEY MUST BE STOPPED TO BLOCK CV – HOW MANY LIVES HAS HE COST?

I am enjoying the work of Johnathan Pie throughout this coronavirus crisis. Two exceptional pieces of work from the roving reporter can be found by clicking here and here.

This is the wrong time for anyone to be sexually frustrated. Mind you, is there ever a right time?

I have contacted WCBC, to try to get some PPE for my staff. Apparently, their supplies are extremely limited. Subsequently, I asked them to ensure those with symptoms were provided with PPE as a matter of urgency. I will only need such equipment if I fall foul of this virus myself, so at the moment I am not a priority. If only the rest of society thought in such a selfless and socialist manner…

I am enjoying trying to compile a music listography at the moment. It was a birthday gift from my sister, and I have bought hundreds of music stickers to decorate the book.

From Wikipedia:

Jamiroquai (/əˈmɪrəkw/ (About this soundlisten)) are an English funk and acid jazz band from London, formed in 1992. Fronted by singer-songwriter Jay Kay, the band were a prominent component of the London-based funk/jazz movement of the 1990s. Their sound draws from black music of the 1970s, and their lyrics and visual concepts occasionally deal with social and environmental idealism. They also drew from rockelectronica and Latin music, and on stage perform with several musicians in the band playing live. Over the years, Kay has consistently remained as the leader through several line-up changes.

The band débuted with “When You Gonna Learn” under Acid Jazz records, which led to Kay signing a record deal with Sony Soho2. While under this label, the group released a string of million-selling albums containing singles that have reached various charts worldwide, including the 1998 single “Deeper Underground“, which topped in the UK, while having moderate success in the US within the Dance charts. All eight of the band’s albums have entered the UK top 10. Three of them, Emergency on Planet Earth (1993), Synkronized (1999), A Funk Odyssey (2001), along with their greatest hits compilation, charted at number 1.

Jamiroquai have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide as of 2017. Their third album Travelling Without Moving (1996), received a Guinness World Record for the best-selling funk album in history. The music video for the album’s lead single, “Virtual Insanity“, was named Video of the Year at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. The group has won an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, as well as one Grammy Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, and two Billboard Music Awards. They have also received sixteen Brit Award nominations.

Message from Baroness Campbell

I received the following message from Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBE, in a group email. I thought it was worth sharing here, as everyone needs to know how disabled people are being affected by this coronavirus panic.

Disabled people – including in Parliament and the House of Lords – are in greater need to self-isolate and, as such, cannot necessarily stand up for themselves and our communities. This is where non-disabled people have to do solidarity work.
***

I am deeply concerned about a whole range of risks that are currently facing disabled people who require support to survive in the community. We have been notably left out of the C19 response narrative and this has caused extreme anxiety amongst our community. People with 24-hour support who employ their own PAs, such as myself, cannot even get the basic protective equipment to keep our staff and ourselves safe. Because we are not seen as part of the professional care infrastructure (nursing homes, agencies, NHS staff) we have been effectively ignored.

As a result I wrote to the social care Minister 9 days ago and have still not received a reply. I cannot participate in the second reading debate today (self- isolation) on the emergency legislation and neither can several other good disabled advocates, who are members of the House of Lords. This again makes me very concerned that our voice and our issues will not be heard/debated.

I urge as many of us as possible (organisations of all disabled people and our allies) to raise these points and work together to make as much noise as possible.

With best wishes Jane

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBE

Law Lords Corridor, Principal Floor

House of Lords

Westminster SW1A 0PW

Phone: +44 (0)20 7219 5124

Parliamentary email: campbelljs@parliament.uk

 

 

URGENT Action needed over threats to disabled people in the Coronovirus Bill

The following was taken from the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) website. It is essential that we all take the time to write to out MP this weekend for reasons that can be clearly seen below.

I do not believe that disabled people in Wales will be effected by these potential measures, but I am sharing this important information in a show of solidarity with my disabled brothers and sisters from across the border.

***

Previously when we’ve asked people to write to their MP we haven’t had many people do it.

This situation is extremely serious and I can’t  stress this enough, WE NEED YOU TO WRITE TO YOUR MP THIS WEEKEND, this is being voted on Monday.

 

Please read this below from Inclusion London, and then ACT by writing to your MP, there is a template letter below.

If you don’t write to your MP and these measures get voted through and you lose your social care, or your civil liberties are legally infringed,  then you only have yourself to blame.


Coronavirus Bill could leave thousands of Disabled people without support

The bill potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger.  We ask you to write to your MP immediately.

Inclusion London is very much concerned about the devastating impact of the proposed Coronavirus Bill on the lives of thousands of Disabled people.  It potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger.

The Bill sets out emergency laws in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Bill is being debated in Parliament on Monday 23 March. We urge you all to write to your MP expressing your concern over the implications of the Bill for Disabled people.

We have drafted a template letter which you can download here and send to your MP.

You can use this website to write to your MP:  https://www.writetothem.com/write

Why we are concerned

As it stands the Bill poses a serious risk to the lives of many Disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support.

The Bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of Disabled people will be breached.

We know from experience that in order for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe.

Please act now and write /email your MP before this Monday 23 March – you can use the template below. The letter can also be downloaded here as a word document.

 


Template letter to MP

Dear [add your MP’s name]

Coronavirus Bill: Disabled people are in danger

I am writing to ask you to take action to protect the lives of many thousands of Disabled people.  Please raise the issue and if possible table and support the amendments to prevent this from happening.

I believe that the #CoronaVirusBill presents a real and present danger to the lives of Disabled people. The government’s plans for Disabled children and adults during the crisis are effectively rolling back 30 years of progress for Disabled people.  They also come after years of chronic under funding of social care which have resulted in a social care system already at breaking point. The government’s plans are to:

  • remove Disabled people’s rights to social care
  • change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty
  • severely undermine the civil liberties of Disabled people and erode their rights to support.

I understand this is an unprecedented and extremely challenging situation, but given the already broken social care system this Bill will almost inevitably leave many thousands of Disabled people without essential support or any rights to request this support. Rolling back our rights is not good for anyone and in the current circumstances will put many lives at risk.

Rather than removing Disabled people’s right to social care support the government must treat our essential social care service as key infrastructure, alongside the NHS, and as such it must immediately provide the necessary funding to keep this vital service running.

To explain my reasons for writing to you, please see my understanding of negative social implications of the #CoronaVirusBill on the lives of Disabled people and their families detailed below.  This information was prepared by the barristers who specialise in public law and disability rights.

Yours sincerely

[Name]

Implications of the Bill for Disabled people

What does it mean for disabled adults? 

The Bill suspends every duty in the Care Act, 2014, including the duty to meet the eligible needs of disabled people (Section 18) and their carers (Section 20).  Under the #CoronaVirus Bill, Local Authorities will only have to provide care ‘if they consider it necessary’ for the purposes of avoiding a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).  There is no human right to social care or positive obligation under the ECHR to meet care needs.   See assessment from leading lawyers specialising in Social Care here: https://www.39essex.com/the-coronavirus-bill-schedule-11/

Other changes set to be introduced through the #CoronaVirusBill will allow health bodies to delay carrying out an assessment for eligibility for NHS continuing care

What does it mean for disabled children and young people?

Duties for young people transitioning to adult social care have also been suspended.

The Secretary of State for Education will have power to disapply the duty on schools and other institutions to admit a child to a school where they are named on an EHCP.  The Secretary of State will be able to vary provisions of the act, such as the core duty to procure provision set out in an EHCP, so instead of being an absolute duty it becomes a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty, creating a lesser entitlement for up to two years.

What about the Mental Health Act?

The power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act will be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained.

The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer.

Under section 5, emergency detention for people already in hospital would extend from 72 hours to 120 hours, and nurses’ holding powers would extend from 6 to 12 hours. Under sections 135 and 136, police powers to detain a person found in need of immediate care at a “place of safety” will extend from 24 hours to 36 hours. Under section 35/36, the cap on how long someone can be held in hospital while awaiting a report (currently 12 weeks) will be lifted.

What about the rights of disabled people?

Local authorities will have a duty to uphold disabled people’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, BUT the threshold for a breach, in terms of not providing care and support is high, which means that disabled people will be left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being, but may not be considered to reach the threshold for their human rights to have been breached – they will NOT have a right to care and support.

Sources of information

Watch @stevebroach, Public Law Barrister talk about the impact of the Bill here: https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/steve-broach-public-law-barrister-on-the-coronavirus-bills-implications-for-disabled-children/

Read this Twitter thread for more information: https://twitter.com/JamieBurton29/status/1240781535340568577

Statement from National User Survivor Network: https://www.nsun.org.uk/News/covid-19-and-human-rights

Current hashtags: #CoronaVirusBill #CoronavirusBillUK

Don’t You, Forget About Us…

This is a video by Anne Pridmore (@caninep) who is speaking on behalf of Direct Payment recipients nationwide. My own situation is particularly worrying and it seems inevitable that I will be left to fend for myself over the next few days and weeks. It is a case of survival of the fittest in our right-wing society and the weakest have no chance. If I disappear for a few days it is because I have no typing support or I am stuck in bed. All this stress and turmoil could have been prevented with adequate preparation by the government, but yet again we have been let down.

Once you have stopped panicking please don’t forget about the true villains of this fiasco. We must work together to build a stronger society and less selfish culture if it is not too late…