Who is responsible for this abomination against healthcare?
It has been revealed that, despite being told not to force “Do Not Revive” orders in people with disabilities who contract Covid-19, people with learning disabilities are still having the orders forced on them – whether they agree with them or not.
Pressure over this from the British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission and others, warning that blanket approaches to care are wrong, forced NHS England to tell hospitals, GPs and managers not to issue such letters… in April 2020 – nearly a year ago!
The following month, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock was threatened with court action unless he legislated to safeguard vulnerable people. At the very least, it is an offence against their human rights.
But now we find that people with learning disabilities are still having “Do Not Revive” orders thrust upon them:
People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.
Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.
The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate “Do Not Revive” notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.
Mencap said they seemed to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability.
Do I have to put two and two together for you?
The fact that the government refused to put people with learning disabilities on the priority list for vaccinations makes this behaviour even worse.
So we find from NHS figures that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65 per cent of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Although the statistics are drawn from different measures, it’s useful to compare this with the rate for the general population: just 39 per cent.
Younger people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age, according to Public Health England.
Considering the inbuilt, systemic bias against them, it seems clear that we should not be surprised – just horrified at this apparent targeting of people with disabilities by the health service (which is supposed to protect people) and the Tory government.
For the sake of balance, I should report that the Department for Health and Social Care has said that it has taken action to prevent “Do Not Revive” notices and has asked the Care Quality Commission to review all such notices issued during the pandemic.
I look forward to its report.
I wonder if anybody will be found to have issued these notices wrongly.
I wonder if anybody will be found to have died as a result.
And if so, I wonder if we’ll learn the reasons these notices were issued. How damning will they be?
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