Reported by Third Force News – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Freelance journalist and disability campaigner Michael McEwan says it is vital that disabled people are getting the information they need during the coronavirus crisis
I work with a number of organisations both locally and nationally, to raise awareness about disability issues and to be a voice for those who often can’t represent themselves due to lack of opportunity or understanding. I also have an insight into disability issues as I was born with cerebral palsy.
The coronavirus outbreak has everyone spooked, though hopefully, by taking necessary difficult steps to control the outbreak, the world will be more prepared to face whatever new existence may come of this. We as a society need to pause to consider in particular how this is impacting people with disabilities and their carers in Scotland. And what learning we can take for the future.
I think there is an urgent need for clear and accessible advice on this virus for people with disabilities, people living with long term conditions and those who care for them like family, carers, paid or unpaid.
I’ve been trying to read data on UK Government and NHS Information sites but it is confusing. It’s presented in a way that I can’t understand, or relate to my situation.
A number of support organisations such as Enable, SCLD, C-Change, Include Me 2 and Scottish Autism have all voiced the serious concerns of their members.
A spokesperson for The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability said: “We know that disruption to routines is challenging for all people. For people with learning disability who can have challenges in understanding information and Learning new skills this disruption can be particularly difficult. We would ask that all public and statutory bodies are mindful of this when producing information about the impact of Covid-19, particularly if it concerns how social care and support is provided. ”
Not only do we need clearer information, we also need to think about reassuring messages to people who may be feeling confused, overwhelmed and panicking. Taking care of mental health is more important than ever.
Isolation for those who need assistance and care workers
As this crisis broke I had no idea what to expect, getting more worried as time and media briefings went on , but I was still hoping to continue my work.
During the second week of the crisis we tragically lost a family member, and due to Covid-19 restrictions my parents and I were unable to attend the funeral, a heart breaking and bewildering situation for me.
I’ve found ways to feel less isolated, and able to continue, in part, my working days as normal through online and calls. I’ve just had to bring the outside world in, by keeping in touch with as many people, both personal and professional, on a daily basis, but it’s not the same.
The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland has stated that disabled people and those with long-term conditions “are expressing anxiety that no contingency planning arrangements seem to be in place for circumstances in which their carers are unable to provide care for them due to self-isolation.”
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