Are you aware that this government are proposing a Coronavirus Bill that will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014?
This will have a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of Disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support. It also potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many in real danger.
“The Bill suspends every duty in the Care Act, 2014, including the duty to meet the eligible needs of disabled people (Section 18) and their carers (Section 20). Under the Corona Virus Bill, Local Authorities will only have to provide care ‘if they consider it necessary’ for the purposes of avoiding a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). There is no human right to social care or positive obligation under the ECHR to meet care needs.”
“The Bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of Disabled people will be breached. We know from experience that for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe.”
This means that Local authorities will have a duty to uphold disabled people’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, BUT the threshold for a breach, in terms of not providing care and support is high, which means that many disabled people will be left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being but may not be considered to reach the threshold for their human rights to have been breached – disabled people do NOT have a right to care and support.
What about the Mental Health Act?
The power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act will be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained.
The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early or find themselves detained for longer.
Under section 5, emergency detention for people already in hospital would extend from 72 hours to 120 hours, and nurses’ holding powers would extend from 6 to 12 hours. Under sections 135 and 136, police powers to detain a person found in need of immediate care at a “place of safety” will extend from 24 hours to 36 hours. Under section 35/36, the cap on how long someone can be held in hospital while awaiting a report (currently 12 weeks) will be lifted.