“Coronavirus: lessons learned to date” – Dimensions contributes in the Health Select Committee

Little victories…

We’re pleased that the Health Select Committee has recognised a number of specific experiences of people with learning disabilities and autistic people in its Covid: Lessons Learned review.

Following CEO Steve Scown’s appearance at the Inquiry, together with written submissions from ourselves and others, the report – with cross-party support – agrees that:

“the disproportionately high mortality rates that people with learning disabilities and autistic people have suffered throughout the pandemic has highlighted the health inequalities faced by this group. While pre-existing health conditions undoubtedly contributed to the increased mortality risk, they were compounded by inadequate access to the care people with learning disabilities needed at a time of crisis. This was a result of restrictions on non-covid hospital activity, and, significantly, because of access restrictions which prevented family members and other carers accompanying people with learning disabilities in hospital to perform their expected advocacy role. “Do not attempt CPR” notices were issued inappropriately for some people with learning disabilities, which was completely unacceptable. Plans for future emergencies should recognise that blanket access restrictions to hospital may not be appropriate for patients who rely on an advocate to express their requirements.”

We hope those planning for future pandemics will also take careful note that, as Steve said, “consistently, the Government guidance for registered care homes has been issued weeks in advance of guidance for supported living services”.

Ultimately, as Steve emphasised to the Committee,