Reported by The Ferret – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Disabled people have been left feeling abandoned after being told that essential care packages would be suspended with immediate affect due to staff pressures resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.
Those who spoke to The Ferret about the “distressing” and “incredibly serious” cuts to services included Maria Quinn and her now-wife Susan McKinstery, who featured in our Just Surviving series with HuffPost UK last December.
The Glasgow-based couple, who got married last Friday, were told on Thursday afternoon that Quinn’s package of social care, which included help to get in and out of bed, dress and shower, was being suspended that evening.
She uses a wheelchair and has a range of both physical and mental health conditions. Her new wife, who has spina bifida, and also uses a wheelchair, is not physically able to offer personal care.
Quinn’s care had recently been reassessed by Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership and she had been told the two daily visits would increase to four. Instead they have been indefinitely cut to zero.
The Ferret also heard from another Glasgow woman whose 84-year-old mother has skin cancer, limited mobility and uses a zimmer frame. She had her support cut on Friday from four daily visits to zero the following day. The family, several of whom were self-isolating, were given nine hours notice.
Glasgow Disability Alliance said it was aware of several others who had seen support packages reduced or cut to zero and raised concerns that disabled people were “invisible” in the midst of a crisis, which put lives at risk.
Glasgow City Council says it has been forced to suspend services due to the number of its staff now self-isolating and has put an appeal for volunteer social carers to step forward.
But Susan McKinstery said she was “completely blindsided” to receive a call, as she prepared for her wedding the next day. She was informed her partner’s support was to be completely suspended that day.
“I phoned Maria’s sister first to let her know what had happened and then I collected my thoughts a bit and called back to explain our situation,” she added. “I am disabled and I can’t step in and do Maria’s care.”