Tag Archives: muscular dystrophy

Tory war on the disabled intensifies as people with muscular dystrophy are denied ventilators

No ventilator for you: it seems the government is ensuring that only able-bodied people with coronavirus can have access to a ventilator. The rest can die as a result of the Tories’ refusal to make proper preparations at the appropriate time.

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?

Source: NHS trust tells people with muscular dystrophy: ‘We’re keeping your ventilator filters for patients with coronavirus’ – Disability News Service

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How can a company that has discriminated against the disabled be ‘DisabilityConfident’?

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Here’s a mixed message:

The Conservative-led Coalition government wants us all to believe that the number of disabled people getting support to get or keep a job is rocketing.

But the businessman it is using to front its PR campaign founded a company that has been convicted of discrimination against the disabled in the recent past.

According to the government’s press release, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Easyjet, said: “Already over 100,000 disabled entrepreneurs employ an equivalent number of people in their business start-ups.

“I encourage disabled people out there who have a germ of an idea for a business, but are unsure of how to go about it, to take advantage of the support the government has on offer to help you make your business fly.”

But in 2011, EasyJet told a boy with muscular dystrophy that he could not fly – because his electric wheelchair was too heavy for baggage handlers.

And in 2012, Paralympics presenter Sophie Morgan received similar treatment.

It seems, if you are disabled, EasyJet’s business has been to keep you on the ground.

The government reckons the number of people using its Access to Work scheme has risen by more than 10 per cent, to 31,230 – and has claimed that disabled people are moving into jobs, training or work placements at a rate of more than 100 every working day.

But the press release does not elaborate on how many of these jobs are permanent, how many are merely temporary placements, how many are self-employment start-ups that will receive funding for a short period and will fold when the grants run out, and so on.

Apparently it is all part of a campaign launched by David Cameron last year, called DisabilityConfident.

From what’s on show here, it seems disabled people have precious little reason to be confident.

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