Report of health and social care committee public inquiry into Covid – Disability Rights UK Responds

The Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee have published a damning new report on the Government’s response to the Covid pandemic. As part of its rigorous analysis, it says:

“The disproportionately high mortality rates that people with learning disabilities and autistic people have suffered throughout the pandemic has highlighted the health inequalities faced by this group. While pre-existing health conditions undoubtedly contributed to the increased mortality risk, they were compounded by inadequate access to the care people with learning disabilities needed at a time of crisis.

“This was a result of restrictions on non-covid hospital activity, and, significantly, because of access restrictions which prevented family members and other carers accompanying people with learning disabilities in hospital to perform their expected advocacy role.

“Do not attempt CPR” notices were issued inappropriately for some people with learning disabilities, which was completely unacceptable…

“Plans for future emergencies should recognise that blanket access restrictions to hospital may not be appropriate for patients who rely on an advocate to express their requirements.

“Initial guidance to clinicians based on the Clinical Frailty Scale was insufficient and had serious consequences.”

The 147 page report makes mention of Disabled people 76 times. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “At the outset of the pandemic, the Coronavirus Act reduced the rights of Disabled people; patients with Coronavirus were moved into care homes; and there was a failure to prioritise social care. It is only right that this report highlights the catalogue of errors made at the start of the pandemic which resulted in the disproportionately high number of deaths of Disabled people.”