The Disability Rights UK Newsletter is an excellent source of news and comment on the lives of people with disabilities living in the UK. Here’s the latest edition, dated 19 June:
Disabled women over 11 times more likely to die of Coronavirus
Disabled women with limiting disabilities aged under 65 are 11.3 times more likely to die than non-disabled females, disabled men aged under 65 with limiting disabilities are 6.5 times more likely to die, and a third of all lives lost to Coronavirus in the UK have been those of disabled people according to new data released by the ONS.
The data records 10,430 disabled people’s deaths between 2 March and 15 May compared to 33,998 deaths of all people in the same period.
The analysis from 2 March to 15 May compares the deaths with disability statuses recorded in the last census (2011).
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “We said at the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis that disabled people must not be allowed to become cannon fodder. A fifth of this country’s population is disabled. A third of all deaths have been disabled people’s. The spread of this virus has amounted to a cull upon our community.
“Government failed to protect disabled people from the start of this outbreak.
“It prioritised the NHS over social care when they should have had parity.
“It failed to procure PPE.
“It consciously reduced and removed our rights to care under the Coronavirus Act.
“It failed to develop a plan that would protect us, instead turning us into fish in a barrel. Our deaths and those of care home workers have been way too high.
“The government called us vulnerable. The government made us vulnerable.”
Disabled people exempt from transport face covering rules
New rules have come into force today which require non-disabled members of the public to wear face coverings in some public places, including on public transport. Those with impairments that prevent them from wearing masks are exempt, as are children under the age of 11.
DR UK Ambassador and transport expert Stephen Brookes said: “All areas of feedback from various sensory and mental health organisations have indicated that the rail industry (as well as others) needs to step back and look at the issues of better consistency of understanding on face covering policy on stations and on train services. It is vital to recognise that there are many who cannot access communications using them and some elements of Autism and mental health conditions preclude their safe use.”
DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “We know that many disabled people are fearful of being challenged by transport staff and members of the public if they cannot wear face coverings. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the public is clear that there are exemptions, what those exemptions are, and why they are in place.”
40% fear challenge if not wearing a face covering – DR UK survey
Disabled people are frightened about travelling as lockdown eases due to a lack of public awareness and clarity about exemptions to the mandatory need to wear face coverings on public transport, according to a new survey by Disability Rights UK.
Nearly 40% of respondents said that they cannot wear a face covering.
Just under half of respondents said that mental health conditions and breathing impairments would prevent them from wearing a mask, with a fifth citing sensory issues and needing to intake medication and/or food and drink while travelling.
Nearly forty per cent said they had a hidden disability which affects their ability to wear a mask, and 13% said they needed to lip read.
Nearly 60% said they feared being challenged if they did not wear a mask, with the same amount not feeling they had the confidence to stand up for themselves if challenged.
Digitisation of justice system risks forcing out disabled people
Disabled people risk being forced out of the justice system due to plans to increase digitisation according to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The EHRC is especially concerned that the proposed changes will deny access for learning disabled people, people with brain injuries, and people with autism.
DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “These changes risk leaving people unable to properly understand what is happening to and about them throughout trials. We know that under the social model of disability, if changes are made which put the needs of disabled people first, they benefit all those who need to access the system. The government needs to hit pause on these plans until it is willing and able to do this.”
It also highlights that many legal professionals do not have adequate training to recognise impairments and their impact, or to understand how adjustments can be made.
Leaders call on Prime Minister to create socially just Coronavirus recovery plan
Disability Rights UK has joined with leaders of more than 100 household name companies, charities, universities, and trade associations to call on Government to ensure that United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of UK Coronavirus recovery plans.
SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States, including the UK, in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “Coronavirus risks putting the prospects of disabled people in this country back at least 20 years. We have fought long and hard for equal opportunities, in employment, in education, for access to our environments, and for our quality of life. But it also provides us with an opportunity to reshape how we do things, to re-address inequality, and to focus on prosperity for everyone. The government has initiated radical short-term solutions to dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. Now is the time for it to show that it can think that radically in the longer term for all of us too.”
Medical treatment in lockdown – survey
Disability Rights UK would like to know how you have found obtaining medical treatment not related to Coronavirus during lockdown. The survey is completely anonymous, and we may share the findings with third parties. If you would like to share your experiences with us, please complete the survey by midday on Wednesday 1 July.
Do you have a story to tell about an experience on public transport?
To help develop a training package for the Department for Transport, Claremont are looking for disabled people who use public transport to take part in an interview and be featured in the training content.
Your story could be about a specific incident on any form of transport, or be more general about the barriers you face on a day-to-day basis. They’d like to hear from people who’ve had positive as well as negative experiences. Perhaps there was a time when a particular arrangement, process or attitude helped to make the journey a better or more equal experience.
Claremont will be selecting up to 20 participants in total based on a range of criteria, in order to form as representative a sample as possible. Interviewees will be paid for their time.
If you’re interested in taking part, please fill out this short survey and a member of the Claremont team will get back to you.
Employing PAs webinar
In Control is hosting a webinar from 1.30-2.30pm on Wednesday 24 June on the topic of employing personal assistants using Direct Payments.
The speakers are Miro Griffiths who employs his own PAs, Carol Reeves who leads on Skills for Care’s work and Jug Sahota and Emma Slaven, Senior Advisors for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
A recording of the webinar will be available here after the event: www.be-human.org.uk/
Tell us about your experiences during Coronavirus
In Control and Disability Rights UK have set up a register to record people’s experiences of getting health, social care and treatment for Covid-19 during the time of the pandemic.
We want to hear the experiences of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, their carers and family members, both good and bad, of getting support so that we can help out where we can, and learn for the future. We will not record your name or personal details unless you want us to.
The next All Party Parliamentary Group for Disability webinar meetings will take place from 1pm-2pm on 25 June 2020 on the topic of technology and from 2pm-3pm 9 July 2020 as a joint webinar with the APPG for Education on higher education.
To register your place, email Roberta Kirosingh at KIROSINGHR@parliament.uk.
Government resources for jobseekers and employers
The government has launched two practical online support platforms through its new ‘Good Place to Start’ campaign.
jobhelp offers essential advice to those looking for work, about how to make the best of transferable skills and how to secure a new role.
employerhelp offers business advice on recruiting including the matching service Find a Job.
It has also produced:
- a jobhelp stakeholder toolkit;
- an employerhelp stakeholder toolkit and;
- BSL videos on coronavirus and benefit changes.
The videos include new content on Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay.
Videos about Access to Work, PIP, Carer’s Allowance and Child Maintenance will be added soon.
CAE Pathways programme
CAE Pathways is a new 12 month programme created by the Centre for Accessible Environments to help people gain the confidence, skills and support to kickstart a career in inclusive design and accessibility within the built and digital environments.