Government publish report of lived experience of disabled people during the Covid-19 pandemic

“From July to September 2020, the Cabinet Office Disability Unit commissioned the Policy Lab to conduct ethnographically-led research into the experiences of disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim was to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of disabled people, to identify problems that could be resolved through policy changes and to make the changes necessary that would lead to positive outcomes.

This report has presented the perceptions and lived experiences of a group of disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic. We learned that COVID-19 has magnified social inequalities and injustices experienced by many disabled people. The pandemic has also brought about many new challenges.”

Excerpts from the Conclusions:

“Chapter 1 highlighted that labels such as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, and shielding categories, have led to some of the participants feeling increasingly embarrassed. These labels have contributed to a sense of guilt about participants’ ‘disabled’ identities. This resulted in some participants refusing to receive food boxes. The requirement to wear a face mask has led to participants expressing distinct challenges in managing health conditions as well as struggling with feeling stigmatised in public places. Participants have felt particularly vulnerable when receiving various services, such as shopping and social and healthcare services, during the pandemic.”

“Chapter 3 documented that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the existing inequalities experienced by our participants. The COVID-19 restrictions have not always been compatible with our participants’ different access needs.”

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