We seem to have a Catch-22 situation regarding autistic and learning- disabled people who, due to a successful legal challenge about the lock-down and social distancing rules, can now apparently ignore them.
It came about when some carers involved with autistic and learning- disabled people successfully challenged the government about the lock-down and social distancing rules. They claimed that the rules were discriminatory and that one of the children they represented, whose conditions mean it was necessary for them to leave the house more than once a day for their wellbeing, was being discriminated against.
Their lawyers argued that the ‘inflexible policy’, which also says people should stay two metres apart from anyone outside of their household, disproportionately impacted those with certain health conditions and was ‘therefore unlawful and discriminatory’.
I can understand that some people who fall into this category would find it difficult to have their routines disrupted and those who rely on close, personal contact in order to feel safe and supported would feel isolated and alone. But doesn’t the protection against this deadly disease take priority?
And surely this new ruling can only work if the systems to ensure they were properly shielded from the virus were in place already. They’re not. We hear that support workers don’t have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and that doctors are effectively saying learning disabled people come lower down the life-saving pecking order by placing ‘Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)’ notices above their beds. It can be safely said that the response from this government to coronavirus for learning disabled people has been a complete and utter shambles.
An article in the Guardian goes into more detail about the situation, and says:
“In an ideal world, PPE would be readily available, maximum testing and tracing would be done and other measures would be in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. This would mean the relaxing of the social isolation rules for learning disabled people would be a measured response. But in Tory Britain, where the response to the pandemic has been wilfully neglectful, it could sadly prove deadly.”
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