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Disabled People feel they are being treated unfairly by the NHS

30 July 2020

Disability Rights UK surveyed 195 people in late June and early July on their experience accessing medical treatment during the pandemic. 191 respondents reported having a disability or long term health condition, 80% (156) of whom reported delays to their treatment as a result of the pandemic.

Respondents reported the following issues because of delays to treatment. Respondents often had more than one issue, the two most common being the worsening of the condition requiring treatment and pain. People reported the following issues as a result of treatment delays:

Worsening of the condition




Mental distress


Lack of mobility


Problems seeing or hearing


Less than a 3rd of respondents (30.5%) believed that the NHS understood their personal situation. The number reporting they believed they were being treated fairly was slightly higher: 37.8% of respondents. However that means a large majority of respondents did not feel the NHS understood their personal situation, nor did they feel they were being treated fairly.

Respondents expressed frustration with poor communication from NHS services. Respondents reported appointments being cancelled or indefinitely postponed on short notice, and no information on when treatments or services would resume.