Coronavirus Bill could leave thousands of Disabled people without support
The bill potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger. We ask you to write to your MP immediately.
Inclusion London is very much concerned about the devastating impact of the proposed Coronavirus Bill on the lives of thousands of Disabled people. It potentially poses a serious risk and can put the wellbeing of many at real danger.
The Bill sets out emergency laws in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Bill is being debated in Parliament on Monday 23 March. We urge you all to write to your MP expressing your concern over the implications of the Bill for Disabled people.
Write to your MP!
We need you to write to your MP today! We have launched a simple tool here where you can find your MP and send our template email:
If you’re on Twitter, please also Tweet your MP!
Copy this template tweet to paste and then click here to easily tweet your MP: https://tweetyourmp.com/
“By Monday night, rights disabled people have to social care will be scrapped in the #CoronavirusBill. Will you please take action to protect us?”
Why we are concerned
As it stands the Bill poses a serious risk to the lives of many Disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support.
The Bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of Disabled people will be breached.
We know from experience that in order for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe.
Please act now and email your MP before 2pm this Monday 23 March. Click this link to find your MP and send our template email: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/coronavirus-bill-disabled-people-are-in-danger/
Implications of the Bill for Disabled people
What does it mean for disabled adults?
The Bill suspends every duty in the Care Act, 2014, including the duty to meet the eligible needs of disabled people (Section 18) and their carers (Section 20). Under the #CoronaVirus Bill, Local Authorities will only have to provide care ‘if they consider it necessary’ for the purposes of avoiding a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). There is no human right to social care or positive obligation under the ECHR to meet care needs. See assessment from leading lawyers specialising in Social Care here: https://www.39essex.com/the-coronavirus-bill-schedule-11/
Other changes set to be introduced through the #CoronaVirusBill will allow health bodies to delay carrying out an assessment for eligibility for NHS continuing care
What does it mean for disabled children and young people?
Duties for young people transitioning to adult social care have also been suspended.
The Secretary of State for Education will have power to disapply the duty on schools and other institutions to admit a child to a school where they are named on an EHCP. The Secretary of State will be able to vary provisions of the act, such as the core duty to procure provision set out in an EHCP, so instead of being an absolute duty it becomes a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty, creating a lesser entitlement for up to two years.
What about the Mental Health Act?
The power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act will be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained.
The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer.
Under section 5, emergency detention for people already in hospital would extend from 72 hours to 120 hours, and nurses’ holding powers would extend from 6 to 12 hours. Under sections 135 and 136, police powers to detain a person found in need of immediate care at a “place of safety” will extend from 24 hours to 36 hours. Under section 35/36, the cap on how long someone can be held in hospital while awaiting a report (currently 12 weeks) will be lifted.
What about the rights of disabled people?
Local authorities will have a duty to uphold disabled people’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, BUT the threshold for a breach, in terms of not providing care and support is high, which means that disabled people will be left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being, but may not be considered to reach the threshold for their human rights to have been breached – they will NOT have a right to care and support.
Sources of information
Watch @stevebroach, Public Law Barrister talk about the impact of the Bill here: https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/steve-broach-public-law-barrister-on-the-coronavirus-bills-implications-for-disabled-children/
Read this Twitter thread for more information: https://twitter.com/JamieBurton29/status/1240781535340568577
Statement from National User Survivor Network: https://www.nsun.org.uk/News/covid-19-and-human-rights
Current hashtags: #CoronaVirusBill #CoronavirusBillUK