Our letter is out in the Camden New Journal, 24 April 2020, read it here. And below with links to further info:
The reality for disabled people, mainly women, is that the measures against Coronavirus are threatening our lives through starvation, and denial of medical treatment and social care.
Most self-isolating sick and disabled people are not on the government’s “vulnerable” register to get food and medicine.
Women in Camden, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark, many who are women of colour already suffering discrimination, have told us they can neither get supermarket deliveries nor stand in queues. Nationally, at least 1.5m people are missing food and more would starve without the unwaged family carers, volunteers, Muslim and other charities delivering meals.
In March, we asked Camden to consider disabled people who had dropped out of social care due to unaffordable charges after the 2017 increase. They replied listing the usual channels for referrals. But only they know who all their former users are.
By contrast, Hammersmith & Fulham, the only Council to make homecare free, is proactive.
Over 40% of NHS workers, 50% of doctors and 20% of social care staff are immigrant, risking their lives – despite the “hostile environment” and the threat of deportation – because the PM, who owes them his life, delayed getting the protective equipment they need.
Labour should be speaking out. But Keir Starmer’s article in the Daily Mail on counting the deaths of care home residents barely hints at State policy (in which NICE and the BMA are implicated), to refuse hospital admission to those deemed not worth treating. Disabled people are preparing a legal challenge. The denial of critical care and the pressure to Not Resuscitate remind us that the Nazis exterminated disabled people as “useless eaters” and “a life unworthy of life”, while pensioners were starved to death.
The draconian Coronavirus Act suspends social care obligations; shockingly Labour did not vote against this. Denied the support of homecare visits, disabled women are restricting their drinks – leading to kidney problems and pneumonia. Some women who cancelled visits for fear of infection, are still being charged. We fear that after the lockdown, people will be found dead in their homes from lack of food and care. Disabled mothers, entitled to support with childcare, now face child removal with less legal representation or virtual contact.
We support a Care Income Now! so that caring for people – for ourselves and others – becomes the priority. Scrapping HS2 (£106 billion) and Trident (£205 billion) would help fund this and reverse priorities.
Claire Glasman and Didi Rossi
WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)
News reports confirm this:
Kilburn 24 April 2020
Glasgow — elderly woman dies after being refused admission by Glasgow Queen Elizabeth University Hospital