DISABLED AND IN LOCKDOWN: HOW THE GOVERNMENT COULD DO MORE TO HELP

From Vicky Foxcroft MP

“I became Shadow Minister for Disabled people a few weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, having already been made aware of some of the problems disabled people were facing through my constituency casework. As Rebecca (please see her story below)¬†highlights in her article, the main thread which connects them all is that disabled people feel they have been forgotten. As well as tackling each separate issue, I am determined to ensure that disabled people are involved in decision-making at every level as we move through this crisis and out the other side.”

Vicky Foxcroft MP (Shadow Minister for Disabled People)

“As a shielder I have experienced some of these difficulties myself, not least in the House of Commons, where on June 2nd MPs voted to return to physical sittings. This undemocratic move disenfranchised those of us who are shielding, over 70 or have other difficulties in one fell swoop.”

“Despite the fact that some concessions have since been made, we are still unable to participate fully on a par with our peers. I will continue to fight this and to do everything I can to ensure that disabled people’s voices are heard in Parliament and at every level of government.”

By Rebecca Sullivan

“It would be more than fair to say that the recent months of life have been topsy-turvey for most of us, if not all. Finding ways to live in this unknown territory has been a challenge. For people living with disabilities, these unprecedented times have presented added hardships to our everyday life that already consists of many.”

“I know these times are completely new to all of us and there is no clear road map through this period, however it would be encouraging to see that people with disabilities have been considered when it comes to lockdown and the dos and don’t dos and the measures that have been put in place to maintain social distancing.

When I think of the community of people with disabilities and measures that have been put in place, question marks are raised with the common thought being, ‘what about us’. An example of where I feel that our community has been forgotten is supermarkets. Currently the government has been putting in place whereby the most most vulnerable are given certain hours to do their shop and able to have their shopping delivered. However, no guidelines/measures have been put in place for people with disabilities.”

Social distancing in a Supermarket

“Going to the supermarket to do your weekly food shop looks a lot different these days, with the endless queues to get into stores and also inside when you get near the check out. I respect why these measures are in place, however they do not account for people with limited mobility, leaving them uncertain as to how they can now gain access to such stores.

I am fortunate to live with family and therefore am able to ask them to get things that I need. However there are many others who do not have people that they can depend on. I would like to put forward a suggestion that the government takes into consideration and implement measures to consider people with disabilities and the way that they can confidently access supermarkets.”

“The other thing that strikes me when thinking of the government and the support that they could provide people with disabilities with is PPE. A lot of people with disabilities rely on carers on a daily basis, carers that are going in and out of people’s homes all day. Now more than ever people need to be protected and in cases where people cannot help but be in very close proximity to each other such protection should be ensured. This would eliminate, or at least reduce anxieties for both the service user and the care worker, of the risk of contracting anything and still feel safe when receiving and providing care. I would like to kindly suggest to the government to ensure that care providers have sufficient PPE just like they have shown such keenness to make sure this is implemented in hospitals.”