If the Conservative government had made proper preparations for a pandemic, people with illnesses like muscular dystrophy would not be denied treatment now.
But the Tories didn’t make proper preparations. Did they always intend to deprive those of us with long-term illnesses and disabilities of treatment?
And will it put these lives in danger? If so, when will the mainstream media pay attention to the harm being done as a consequence of this failure by a Conservative government?
The lives of people with muscular dystrophy are being risked because NHS trusts like Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust (RBHFT) are prioritising non-disabled people with COVID-19 over those with long-term health conditions.
(Remember that disabled people with Covid-19 are still likely to have “Do Not Attempt Resuscitation” orders hanging over them and are therefore unlikely to see a ventilator either.)
The trust has told people with muscular dystrophy that it will no longer supply them with replacement anti-bacterial filters for the ventilators that keep them alive because stocks are running low and they are being reserved for patients with coronavirus.
(I’m not convinced about this. Covid-19 is a virus – so what good will anti-bacterial filters do?)
If it doesn’t seem clear to you that the Conservatives are using the coronavirus crisis to wage war on people with disabilities, consider the following information from Disability News Service:
It is the latest in a series of cases in which NHS managers or healthcare professionals have appeared to discriminate against disabled people with long-term conditions during the pandemic crisis.
Among incidents that have caused concern have been a care company that said GPs had written to three of its services for people with learning difficulties to say they had decided that all their service-users should be deemed “do not resuscitate” if they became ill with coronavirus.
Another was a Welsh GP surgery which wrote to patients with life-limiting conditions asking if they could complete “do not attempt resuscitation” (DNAR) forms on their behalf, partly so that “scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit”.
DNS reported in March how the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence had been forced to update guidance on which coronavirus patients should receive intensive care treatment, after concerns raised by disabled activists.
The previous week, DNS had revealed how an NHS critical care consultant appeared to suggest publicly that he and his colleagues would not attempt to resuscitate many older and disabled people if they became seriously ill with coronavirus.
But with coroners being told to ignore the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) in coronavirus-related inquests, what’s to stop the government telling them to ignore the refusal to provide proper care to people with disabilities?
How many people will have to die before the obvious connections are made?
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