|An excellent selection of practical resources for people with disabilities provided by Disability Rights UK. Links to their website are at the foot of the page and you can subscribe to their newsletters there, too.
Open letter to NHS on disabled people’s human rights gains nearly 2,000 signatories
Nearly 2,000 people have signed an open letter to NHS England over the weekend, stating the need for the rights of disabled people to be upheld during the Coronavirus crisis.
Following growing concerns about treatment and triaging for disabled people, the letter reminds those in authority how the NHS is built on the principle that we are each equal in dignity and how it has a commitment to protect rights to life and to health, no matter who we are.
The letter can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/covid-19-and-rights-disabled-people
You can add your name to the letter here: https://bit.ly/2JL4kAG
The National Medical Director and Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England have responded to the letter: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/response-open-letter-covid-19-and-rights-disabled-people
Baroness Jane Campbell has responded to the response from NHS England here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/april/covid-19-reply-nhs-england
Energy assurance petition
Fuel Poverty Action has launched a petition asking for energy assurances during the Coronavirus crisis, no matter how long it lasts.
The current agreement does not make clear if unaffordable payments will be waived, or just postponed. There are concerns people will accrue more fuel debt during the crisis as they have to live on lower incomes, possibly with the threat of increased prices. The government’s agreement with suppliers makes customers responsible for negotiating with their supplier for the help they need. If customer service helplines become overwhelmed, this can lead to people being unable to access help.
You can read the government’s latest information on energy here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19
The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-alok-sharmer-mp-covid-19-guarantee-people-s-heat-and-power
Accessing care during Coronavirus
Disabled People’s Organisation In Control has produced a webinar with disability rights lawyer Steve Broach of Monckton Chambers about how to access social care during the Coronavirus crisis. You can view the video here: https://youtu.be/j5RU9DFIzQM
DR UK has produced a new factsheet to help students deal with issues relating to Coronavirus. You can find this here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/StudentsCoronavirus
In Control has run a webinar about employment issues for people on Direct Payments via a personal budget or personal health budget. Stephen Robson the senior solicitor for employment and discrimination from Disability Law Centre joined participants to explore the employment related issues. You can view the webinar here: https://youtu.be/ikaVyDgIFds
And the Business Disability Forum is running a series of free webinars on the subject of Coronavirus and disabled employees. Details here:
Coronavirus legal resources
If you need legal advice you can find a list of solicitors with expertise in disability and special education needs (SEN) cases here:
Equality and human rights champion Fry Law has a raft of template letters which people may wish to use during the Coronavirus crisis, including complaint letters to supermarkets, designed to provide priority access for disabled people. They can be downloaded for free at www.frylaw.co.uk.
Fry Law has also created a forum where people can discuss and advise on the law online. The forum will meet from 6-7pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Cathy Casserley and her team at Cloisters Chambers will be on hand, together with BSL English Interpreters Love Language, to answer questions and enter into conversation.
There will be different guests for each session, to reflect different themes.
To register in advance for webinars, click on this link:
Some people may prefer to ask questions in advance, and can also tweet them on #DRAquestion.
And the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Law has released a Google Drive document created by the Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences to help distribute literature about legal and ethical issues facing front-line healthcare professionals COVID-19.
The compilation has a UK / European focus, and further information can be found at the following links:
The Google drive resources are intended to support transparent and public discussion, particularly during forthcoming weeks when a surge of serious COVID-19 infections is expected to outstrip intensive care resources.