NHS

Emergency on Planet Earth #38

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

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

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I would like to wish the NHS a very happy 72nd birthday. I will not patronise the fine institution by making zero effort to applaud thin air, but my attitude towards this fine organisation is as warm as the next person.

A more useful thing for people to do this afternoon, is to sign petitions such as this one, calling for a pay-rise for all NHS staff.

It is so important that we all recognise the importance of the NHS, and do not allow the Tories to decimate it further. I recommend that everyone should read this article that appeared on the Skwawkbox blog this morning:

Former BMA deputy chair says ‘Happy birthday NHS – but when non-COVID tsunami hits, if you love it, step up to protect it from govt who will exploit crisis to wreck it’

I fail to understand why the Tories have such a problem with a service that provides free health care to its citizens. I am quite proud that I don’t understand their desire to privatise everything, even though it is obvious to everyone that it all boils down to filthy lucre.

 

 

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This fantastic song came up on YouTube the other night, and I was very interested in the video. A quick search led me to discover that it is used in the film My Friend Dahmer – a must-watch for myself.

I don’t know why I am drawn to such questionable characters, or why I write to prisoners on Death Row? I guess it is something to do with sympathy for the misunderstood. Of course, the actions of certain individuals cannot ever be excused, but I have always taken the side of the underdog, and think it is important to find out why people become murderers. Is it nature or nurture?

From Wikipedia:

Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991.[8] The band was composed of David Byrne (lead vocalsguitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), and Jerry Harrison (keyboards, guitar). Described by the critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine as “one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the ’80s,”[3] the group helped to pioneer new wave music by integrating elements of punkart rockfunk, and world music with avant-garde sensibilities and an anxious, clean-cut image.[3]

Former art school students who became involved in the 1970s New York punk scene, Talking Heads released their 1977 debut album, Talking Heads: 77, to positive reviews.[9] They collaborated with producer Brian Eno on a trio of experimental and critically acclaimed releases: More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), Fear of Music (1979), and Remain in Light (1980).[3] After a hiatus, Talking Heads hit their commercial peak in 1983 with the U.S. Top 10 hit “Burning Down the House” from the album Speaking in Tongues and released the concert film Stop Making Sense, directed by Jonathan Demme.[3] They released several more albums, including their best-selling LP Little Creatures (1985), before disbanding in 1991.[10]

In 2002, Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Four of their albums appear in Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and three of their songs (“Psycho Killer“, “Life During Wartime“, and “Once in a Lifetime“) were included among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.[11] Talking Heads were also number 64 on VH1‘s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.[12] In the 2011 update of Rolling Stones “100 Greatest Artists of All Time“, they were ranked number 100.[13]

Emergency on Planet Earth #36

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

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

***

6zjv2_inclusionlondon

This is an important insight into the experiences of disabled people during the Coronavirus crisis. It deserves your undivided attention even though you are probably busy doing nothing in the sunshine.

Launch of Inclusion London report 

Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored: Inclusion London’s report about lived experiences of Disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Today, Wednesday 24th June 2020 Inclusion London launches its interim report based on hundreds of responses to our survey.  The report is available here The report paints a stark picture. From the outset, Disabled people have been discriminated against, forgotten, and in some cases abandoned as policymakers have ignored our needs. Or, at best considered us as an afterthought.  During the pandemic  Disabled people saw our legal rights diminished, we experienced resource rationing and blanket policies.  This led to many of us struggling to get bare necessities, losing support and independence and living in fear for our lives.

The pandemic has shone a light on the long-standing structural inequalities and discrimination that Deaf and Disabled people experience. The dreadful disparities are reflected in the grim data released by the Office for National Statistics, which says Disabled people were about twice as likely to die from covid-19.

Despite the shocking statistics, the plight of Disabled people was largely missing from public discourse. We are publishing this report to give voice to people who shared their experience with us.

We are launching this report with a panel discussion, where Deaf and Disabled people from Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations will share their personal experience and experience of communities they support and represent and support.

Webinar: Wednesday, 24 June, 5-6.30pm.  To attend this webinar please register via this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6OF_zmeHT62IIlkYQatDhA

You can support this campaign by sharing this report with your networks and supporting us on social media.

Download the report here 

Best wishes
Tracey Lazard
CEO, Inclusion London

***
The following is another email that I feel I should share with my readers. The NHS in Wales are conducting a well-being survey for anyone over the age of 16 in Wales. The link to the survey can be found below:
Good afternoon
The 7 Health Boards across Wales have been working with Swansea and Cardiff Universities to develop a study that aims to understand the impact of coronavirus on the emotional well-being and mental health of the Welsh population. We would like to encourage as many people as possible over the age of 16 years living in Wales to complete the survey.
For those individuals who would be willing to participate in the survey, or wish to gain more information about it, please click this link www.wales-wellbeing.co.uk/survey or visit the website www.wales-wellbeing.co.uk. The survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. If anyone would like to participate in the survey but would prefer a paper copy it can be downloaded from the website or individuals can phone 07737558980 and leave their name and address to request a copy. (Unfortunately the phone number is unmanned and has an answerphone that is solely used for posting surveys to people who request this).
The survey results will be analysed at a National, Health Board and Local Authority level and will be used to guide the NHS in Wales, and our local services, to support the well-being of the population over the coming months.
Thank you.
Equality Branch
Megan John
Disability Equality and Inclusion Officer
***
shutterstock_1233755716-1024x1024
The following facts are taken from http://www.did-you-knows.com – I thought they might keep you quiet for a minute or two.
  • Did you know 11% of people are left handed
  • Did you know August has the highest percentage of births
  • Did you know unless food is mixed with saliva you can’t taste it
  • Did you know the average person falls asleep in 7 minutes
  • Did you know a bear has 42 teeth
  • Did you know an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain
  • Did you know lemons contain more sugar than strawberries
  • Did you know 8% of people have an extra rib
  • Did you know 85% of plant life is found in the ocean
  • Did you know Ralph Lauren’s original name was Ralph Lifshitz
  • Did you know rabbits like licorice
  • Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet has 13 letters
  • Did you know ‘Topolino’ is the name for Mickey Mouse Italy
  • Did you know a lobsters blood is colorless but when exposed to oxygen it turns blue
  • Did you know armadillos have 4 babies at a time and are all the same sex
  • Did you know  reindeer like bananas
  • Did you know  the longest recorded flight of a chicken was 13 seconds
  • Did you know  birds need gravity to swallow
  • Did you know the most commonly used letter in the alphabet is E
  • Did you know the 3 most common languages in the world are Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English

Written Statement by Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

The following written statement, has been made by Vaughan Gething MS, aimed at those people who are currently shielding themselves during the Coronavirus crisis.

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The Chief Medical Officer for Wales initially advised those who were most susceptible to the most serious effects of COVID 19 to shield for a period of 12 weeks. That initial 12 weeks comes to an end on 15 June and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales has now confirmed the next steps for this group of people.

On 31 May the Chief Medical Officer for Wales updated his advice to those who are shielding. From 1 June the advice allowed unlimited exercise outdoors, and also indicated that those shielding could meet with members of one other household outdoors, as long as strict physical distancing and hygiene practices are adhered to. These changes, whilst modest, were a significant change for those who are shielding, some of whom had not left their homes for over 10 weeks.

New letters from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will start to issue shortly to those who are shielding, confirming the changes that were announced on Sunday 31 May and also asking those who are shielding to continue to do so for a further period of time. There are no other changes being made to the advice for those who are shielding at this stage. People who are shielding should continue to follow all the other advice previously given. They should not go shopping or attend work outside of home. They should continue to have food and medicine delivered to them.

Whilst it has been possible to make changes to some of the advice around exercise and meeting people outside, the virus has not gone away and as such it would be unwise to introduce any further relaxations to the advice at this time. The latest statement from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales is published here for your reference.

Going forward, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will start to review the advice for those who are shielding on the same cycle as the review of the lockdown regulations. However, we do not expect that any further relaxation will be possible for this group for some time and so we have committed to write again to those who are shielding by 16th August.

Whilst some people will be reassured by the limited changes to advice, for some people this continuation of shielding will be a difficult message. I recognise that to be advised not to go to work or school or do your own shopping is challenging and frustrating, but this advice is in place for the safety of those who are shielding. However, I should emphasise this is advice and not instruction. Just as we all have choices to make for ourselves and our families as we come out of lockdown, those who are shielding will also want to choose how to respond and how best to manage their lives. The advice is in place for the safety of individuals.

I want to reiterate my previous thanks to those who have been shielding so diligently – not only protecting themselves but also helping to protect our NHS. I recognise how challenging these last few months, with minimal face-to-face contact with others, has been.

I continue to be incredibly proud of all those who have and continue to provide the vital support to enable people to shield. Our Local Authority partners, pharmacies, volunteers and major food retailers have continued to make huge efforts to make shielding possible and I am grateful to them for their continuing commitment.

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

Emergency on Planet Earth #17

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

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

***

This is very exciting news. I have been calling on such measures for years and let us hope that some good will come out of this awful situation that we find ourselves in.

More about this development can be read in the BBC News article via this link.

 

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download

I am sharing a couple of posts from the excellent Disabled People Against Cuts website, which can be accessed here.

These are essential reading for disabled people who are living independently, or struggling to be heard during this Covid-19 crisis. Both posts can be viewed in their original format by clicking on the titles of the posts below.

I plan to record a video for the Independent Living Film Project, and write a journal based on my personal experiences of the Covid-19 saga. I will publish both of these on my blog, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Independent Living Film Project Calling all Deaf and Disabled People – tell us why Independent Living matters to you!

We need your help for our campaign for a National Independent Living Service (NILS).  Please make a film on your phone following the format below:

Independent Living Film Project

Calling all Deaf and Disabled People – tell us why Independent Living matters to you!


How to get involved?
  Easy – make a video on your phone and send it to us, we will do the rest.

What do I need to do? Answer the questions below on camera and then send your video to us at info@rofa.org.uk

How long does it need to be? Maximum length is 4 minutes – one minute per question – we want quality, not quantity!

Questions

  1. What’s your name, where do you live and why is independent living important to you
  2. Based on your experience what is the difference between social care and independent living
  3. Why do we need a legal right to independent living and a national independent living support service?
  4. What is your main message to the UK Government?

At the end of the video tell ROFA you give us permission to use your video for campaigning purposes to win a legal right to independent living and a national independent living service then send it to info@rofa.org.uk

Please also circulate to your networks!

Mark

Mark Harrison

***

Journals of a Pandemic A Project recording life in Covid-19

Become one of our diarists and write entries describing any aspect of your day, from the taste of your coffee to the impact of Covid-19 on your activism, mental health, sex life and everything in between.

We are particularly interested in the voices and stories of those not well represented in the mainstream media – including but not limited to: unions; those with disabilities; NHS workers; sex workers; prisoners; activists; precarious workers; writers, artists and performers.

Contribute as little or as much, and as often as you like here. You may send your entries in either written or recorded form and feel free to include photographs, drawings, or anything else you would like to share.

To get in touch, email us at journalsofapandemic@gmail.com

Dr Ana Baeza Ruiz

Curator (Student Engagement)

Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA)

MoDA Collections Centre

Middlesex University

9 Boulevard Drive, Beaufort Park

London, NW9 5HF

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Emergency on Planet Earth #10

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

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

***

***

I just don’t understand some people. How on earth can this be right? The fact that the Tories are actually gaining extra support, despite making such a blatant mess of the Coronavirus outbreak just beggars belief. The one good thing about this article is that it reminds the left that there is still work to be done and that we should take nothing for granted, especially where the mass media are concerned.

***

My Music Listography is slowly coming together, but my list of favourite songs is a very difficult one to compile. This is by no means a definitive list as my favourite songs changes frequently, depending on a vast array of factors such as time, fashion and company. Already I am regretting not including certain tracks, but on the whole I think this is a fair representation of my musical taste.

List your 20 favourite songs:

  1. Germ-free Adolescent by X-Ray Spex
  2. I Want You by The Beatles
  3. Poptones by Public Image Limited
  4. Circle by Travis
  5. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
  6. Another Girl Another Planet by The Only Ones
  7. Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have Fallen in Love With) by Buzzcocks
  8. Dakota by The Stereophonics
  9. Bluetonic by The Bluetones
  10. From Despair to Where by Manic Street Preachers
  11. Song For Whoever by The Beautiful South
  12. Point of View by DB Boulevard
  13. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
  14. She’s a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones
  15. I am the Walrus by Oasis
  16. Paperback Writer by The Beatles
  17. Nothing Left by Buzzcocks
  18. Pyramid Song by Radiohead
  19. No Fun by Sex Pistols
  20. Goldfinger by Ash

***

Ministers urged to include care home deaths in daily UK coronavirus toll

If your life matters please email your MP

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In spite of a small climb down by NICE activists remain concerned that the lives of disabled people will be deemed to be of lesser value than those of non-disabled people in the event of rationing of equipment needed to treat Corona Virus. Many older and disabled people in various locations around the country have already received letters from GPs asking them to sign DNR and DNAR forms. In a few cases even when people have refused to do so GPss have issued these as unfortunately doctors can have the last say about not resucitating you and over rule your wishes.

If you value your own lives we are asking you to email your MPs urgently and a template letter is below. You may also wish to look at the Not Dead Yet website     Not Dead Yet UK: Call to Action  http://notdeadyetuk.org/covid-19-a-call-to-action/

Template Letter

<Add your name and postcode >

<Add Date>

Dear <Add name of your  MP – find your at https://www.writetothem.com/ >

I am writing to you, as my MP, to ask you to protect the rights and lives of Disabled people.

Since Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has started to spread, there are stories in the news that are very worrying. Some doctors have been sending groups of Disabled people ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ forms to sign (1). This has happened even though the NHS says that doctors must talk to people first.

I am worried that some people think Disabled people are not worth the same as other people (2) I’m also worried that Disabled people might not get:

  • a choice about signing these forms;
  • life-saving care, if they become really ill with Coronavirus;
  • help and support to understand what is happening with care.

This would be against NHS rules, the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

I do not agree that doctors should be made to use ‘frailty scales’ (3) to decide who does, or does not, get treatment for Coronavirus. Hospital doctors can already decide if a treatment will be good for a patient, and decide the best way to use medicines and equipment.

Although the advice has been changed (4) to say ‘frailty scales’ should not be used for some Disabled people, they can be for others, so it is still discrimination.

Everyone has equal value, whatever our age, health or disability.

I know that this is a very difficult time for the NHS, but it is not Disabled people’s fault that health services have had their funding cut. It’s not our fault that services don’t have enough equipment.

Please support Disabled people and write to:

Matt Hancock, Minister for Health and Social Care

Simon Stevens Chief Executive NHS

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Improvement.

Please ask them to:

  • Get rid of the NICE guidance about the ‘Clinical Fraility Scale.’
  • Support Disabled people to have a choice about their treatment.
  • Protect people’s rights under the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.
  • Work with Disabled people and Human Rights groups when deciding on rules and advice about Coronavirus.

I look forward to hearing from you about their responses. Thank you.

Yours sincerely

<Add your name>

References:

(1) CQC condemns ‘do not resuscitate’ notices on care plans

(2) ‘Who’s Life Counts?’ British Institute of Human Rights

https://www.bihr.org.uk/blog/the-fight-against-covid-19-whose-life-counts

(3) ‘The Clinical Frailty Scale is not suitable for use with people with learning disabilities’ – Nursing Times

(4) ‘NICE updates rapid COVID-19 guideline on critical care’

https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-updates-rapid-covid-19-guideline-on-critical-care 

Please also read:

‘Coronavirus: Anger over ‘terrifying and discriminating’ intensive care guidance’ – Disability News Service

Coronavirus: Anger over ‘terrifying and discriminating’ intensive care guidance

Not Dead Yet UK: Call to Action

COVID-19 – A call to action

 

Disability News Service: CV-19 – Anger over ‘terrifying and discriminating’ intensive care guidance

The following article was taken from the excellent Disability News Service website, and written by John Pring. The original article can be viewed by clicking on this link. I recommend this site to all disabled people during the coronavirus crisis and beyond, as a dependable source of information. 

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New guidance for the NHS on which coronavirus patients should receive intensive care treatment has heightened fears among activists that many disabled people will be refused lifesaving treatment if they are admitted to hospital.

The guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that all adult COVID19 patients should be assessed for “frailty” when admitted to hospital, and that “comorbidities and underlying health conditions” should be taken into account.

Following alarm and outrage from disabled people and allies, the government body announced late yesterday (Wednesday) that it had produced an updated guideline.

But the new version has not eased all those concerns, with one disability campaigner warning that disabled people who need support would still be less likely to receive critical care if the guideline was followed and one grassroots group of disabled people saying that it was “not reassured” by the amendments.

It was the use of the CFS “frailty” scoring system that caused most alarm, with the guideline suggesting that those with a score as low as five – those seen as “mildly frail”, who often need help with transportation, heavy housework and medication (nine represents someone who is terminally ill) – might not be considered appropriate for critical care and might be steered towards end-of-life care instead if their condition deteriorated.

The guideline said that decisions to admit patients for “critical care” should be based on how likely they were to recover.

Among those raising concerns about the original version of the new guidance was disabled actor and activist Liz Carr.

She said on Twitter that the guideline suggested she and many other disabled people would be “pretty much denied [the] same access to ventilation/critical care support as non-disabled people based on the fact we require some assistance in our daily life, because we’re disabled”.

She said this was “terrifying and discriminating”.

When NICE said it was “very aware of the concerns of some patient groups about access to critical care” and that it understood “how difficult this feels”, another disabled activist, Dennis Queen, told the organisation: “It’s not about how we feel –you are denying our human rights.

“We pay [the] same taxes for this disgraceful unequal treatment.”

Another disabled campaigner, Angela Kennedy, said on Twitter: “It’s more than ‘difficult’: it’s justified concern that discrimination against disabled people – because we need support, assistance and reasonable adjustment to live with our disablement – will drive unlawful decisions to refuse us a right to life. Your guidelines caused that.”

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People told Disability News Service (DNS) last night (Wednesday) that it was “alarmed that the government – via the NICE guidance has confirmed that, when there’s competition for beds, the NHS will ration ICU care, so that many disabled people (especially elders) will be denied treatment, based on a scoring system.

“It’s also a much bigger group than those of us being told to protectively self-isolate.”

Mike Steel, from Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL), said his grassroots group of disabled people was “highly concerned” about the NICE guideline, and the manner of its admission that the original version was flawed.

He said: “We have been shown with stark clarity the ease with which denying our most fundamental human right – the right to life –is normalised and reduced to being part of a ‘discussion’.

“We are not reassured by the amendment made to say that younger people and people with ‘stable long-term disabilities’ should not be assessed using the CFS, yet others can be.

“Categorising and dividing disabled and chronically ill people by age or personal care needs in order to decide who gets critical care is ableist and dangerous.

“The reality is, as a direct consequence of years of drastic cuts and a failure to plan by central government, frontline health staff will be put under immense and unfair pressure to make decisions about care.”

He said the guideline appeared to have been drawn up without the input of disabled people, and he added: “When we are excluded from decisions about our lives, not only are mistakes made, our very being is devalued.”

The concerns over the guideline came as more than 60 UN human rights experts, including Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, warned in a statement* that action taken to cope with the COVID-19 crisis must address human rights issues and could not only be solved through public health and emergency measures.

They said: “Everyone, without exception, has the right to life-saving interventions and this responsibility lies with the government.

“The scarcity of resources… should never be a justification to discriminate against certain groups of patients.

“Everybody has the right to health.”

A disabled mother, who tweets at @Whovian242, told NICE on Twitter after the publication of the first version of its guideline: “This morning I read that according to these guidelines if I am assessed based on my care needs I won’t be eligible for critical care.

“With respect your comment ‘we understand how difficult this feels’ feels incredibly dismissive.”

Wheelchair dancer and consultant Shay Erlich added: “You have instituted a widespread tool and unleashed it for clinicians who will be making split second decisions in an overloaded system.

“Saying you have to take this advice in context in these circumstances only assures it won’t be.”

NICE said on Twitter that it accepted that the frailty scoring system was “not perfect” and so it recommended that doctors should “take any decisions about care in conjunction with patients and their carers where possible”.

It also said it welcomed clarification by the NHS Specialist Clinical Frailty Network (SCFN) that the frailty scoring system should not be used to assess certain groups, which it later said were “younger people, people with stable long-term disabilities, learning disabilities, autism or cerebral palsy”.

After publishing the updated guideline last night – following an update on using the CFS by SCFN – NICE said its new version included these clarifications and “the need to consider additional patient factors when interpreting the CFS score”.

The European Disability Forum (EDF), an umbrella organisation of disabled people across Europe, spoke out this week about reports of discriminatory medical guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDF said it was “extremely worried” about such reports coming from “some countries”.

It later told DNS that it had spoken out due to concerns raised by activists in the UK and other countries, including Sweden and Ireland.

It added: “In countries where healthcare professionals will not be able to provide the same level of care to everyone due to lack of equipment and underfunding of the healthcare sector, medical guidelines need to be non-discriminatory and follow international law and existing ethics guidelines for care in the event of disaster and emergencies.

“These are clear: persons with disabilities cannot be discriminated against.”

An EDF spokesperson added: “We believe that countries need to involve persons with disabilities and their organisations when writing these guidelines.”

Maureen Piggot, a member of EDF’s executive committee, said last night: “I welcome the clarification of the NICE guidelines, but it does not go far enough.

“The UK needs to follow the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabilities and explicitly ensure that there is no discrimination against persons with disabilities – this includes healthcare guidelines that provide equal access to life saving support.”

The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) said this week that it was “deeply concerned” about the “eugenicist rhetoric that has been used to suggest that disabled people will have less access to medical treatment and equipment if they fall ill due to or during the pandemic”.

ROFA – whose members are all disabled people’s organisations and include Inclusion LondonDisabled People Against CutsThe Alliance for Inclusive EducationPeople First (Self Advocacy)Sisters of Frida and Equal Lives- called on the government to “ensure that disabled people are not discriminated against in the response to COVID-19”.

The NICE guidance added to concerns raised by last week’s DNS report about an NHS consultant who appeared to suggest in an open letter that he and his colleagues would not attempt to resuscitate many older and disabled people if they became seriously ill with coronavirus.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which runs the hospital where the consultant works, has again refused to clarify his comments.

Instead, it issued a statement in which it said that every individual patient was different and that care plans “will depend on their individual circumstances where the most appropriate treatment will be offered based on their needs”, while it said the letter “was written to show the compassion and care NHS staff can offer during such a difficult period”.

*Here is the first part of the UN statement: “Everyone, without exception, has the right to life-saving interventions and this responsibility lies with the government. The scarcity of resources or the use of public or private insurance schemes should never be a justification to discriminate against certain groups of patients.

“Everybody has the right to health. People with disabilities, older persons, minority communities, indigenous peoples, internally displaced people, people affected by extreme poverty and living in overcrowded settings, people who live in residential institutions, people in detention, homeless people, migrants and refugees, people who use drugs, LGBT and gender diverse persons – these and other groups need to receive support from governments.

“Advances in biomedical sciences are very important to realize the right to health. But equally important are all human rights. The principles of non-discrimination, participation, empowerment and accountability need to be applied to all health-related policies.”

**Sources of information and support during the coronavirus pandemic include the following:

The Department of Health and Social Care

National Survivor User Network

Spinal Injuries Association

COVID Mutual Aid UK

Disability North

Disability Wales

Citizens Advice

 

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.

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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. 

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

Coronavirus PA Guidelines

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Here is the guidance to my personal assistants that I have put together. Please feel free to print this out and add or amend as you see fit for your specific situation. Please note that these are not official guidelines in anyway, but just something that I have put together in the hope that it will help myself and others. Thanks to Rhian Huws Williams for prompting me to do this 🙂

I have used some of the do’s and don’ts from the NHS guidance notes. 

***

Please find below some important guidelines for the workplace during the coronavirus outbreak. It is important that ALL STAFF follow the recommendations below. I will also be printing off a copy of the guidelines for display on the kitchen wall. This also applies to visitors to my bungalow.

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • please ensure that all door handles – fridge, microwave, cupboards – and light switches, taps, surfaces, floors, bin lids are cleaned throughout the day.
  • in addition, make sure that all tea towels, towels, dish cloths, flannels are all changed regularly and washed.

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Many thanks for your patience and understanding. It is important that we work to make sure everyone stays fit and healthy by following these guidelines and reducing the risks at every possible opportunity.