Our Stories: Disabled People's Experiences of COVID

Wed,19 July 2023
News Equality & Rights Health & Social Care
A report written in collaboration between Disability Rights UK and People's Voice Media has been launched, spotlighting the experiences of Deaf and Disabled people who were left ignored, marginalised and at risk by the government during the pandemic. The aim of this report is to bring our experiences to the COVID-19 inquiry, so the people's voices can be humanised and heard.

“We realised very quickly that although people said we were all weathering the storm, we weren’t in the same boat. … people were frightened. They felt frustrated. They thought that no-one cared”

Currently, an inquiry into the government's handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic is ongoing. In collaboration with People's Voice Media, we spoke with people to collect their stories, so that the lived experiences of Deaf and Disabled people could be input to the COVID Inquiry.

As Keymn Whervin said in the report's foreword, "It is vital for the COVID Inquiry to consider Deaf and Disabled experiences separately from the general population, due to the inequalities Deaf and Disabled people faced before the pandemic. We need to evidence how this has worsened for those people who are most in need of help and support. Additionally, it is essential to understand why this is and, if a pandemic or national crisis should happen again, what has to happen across the UK. From the start of the COVID pandemic, Deaf and Disabled people, together with their unpaid carers, received less support than others. It is essential to have Deaf and Disabled people involved in reports such as this, because they are the experts in respect of their circumstances, and reports need to be relevant to communities, not just policy experts.

The Inquiry must ensure that people affected by COVID have their voices heard, particularly in respect of how we co-produce health and social care. We can’t get our loved ones back, but lessons need to be learnt at a strategic level and apologies need to be made."

DR UK's CEO, Kamran Mallick, added "This joint work between People’s Voice Media and Disability Rights UK captures the voices behind the figures. The individuals and families that were impacted on during the pandemic and continue to be now. Their voices must be heard. People have shared their pain, trauma and sense of injustice with us. This must be a turning point where governments listen and take action. I am grateful to all those who took part in the interviews, for being open and for sharing their experiences."

We hope this report will give people’s voices meaning to ensure the COVID Inquiry makes recommendations that will support and prioritise Disabled people, together with their carers.

Read the full report, with shared experiences from Deaf and Disabled people about their experience during the pandemic.

Full Report: Lived Experience of Deaf and Disabled People During the COVID-19 Pandemic