Update: NHS England’s visitor policy leaving disabled people at risk

Update: On Friday (1/5/2020), a letter was sent by Fry Law to NHS England. Here is an abridged version of this letter: Letter of Claim – Equality Act abridged

The letter describes my care needs, a few of my most relevant experiences, some data on who may be affected by this policy, and the bits of legislation that NHS England need to make sure they are following. These are:

Equality Act 2010:-
– Public Sector Equality Duty, as they appear to have not given due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality
– Reasonable adjustments, as they appear to have failed to take reasonable steps to avoid disabled people being put at substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people
[non-legal jargon version: It looks like they haven’t thought about us, and they haven’t even tried to do anything to make sure we’re treated fairly]

Human Rights Act 1998:-
– Article 3, Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, as being put in a position where my needs are not going to be safely met and preventing efforts to resolve this is to create a situation where my safety is unnecessarily at risk of harm
– Article 8, Right to respect for private and family life , as family members would be prevented from supporting me, which could create a situation where my safety is unnecessarily at risk of harm
– Article 14, Prohibition of discrimination, as this policy has a greater impact on me as a disabled person than non-disabled people, in a way which could create a situation where my safety is unnecessarily at risk of harm

[non-legal jargon version: This policy seems to put me at risk of harm, remove access to my family, and be discriminatory against me as a disabled person]

What do I want from NHS England? Why am I doing all this? Haven’t they got enough to do right now?

Yes, I know there’s a pandemic on. And that makes this even more important. At a time when the NHS is having to work harder, better, faster than ever, removing those who support NHS staff is a no. Asking nurses to do a job they’re not trained to do is a no. Making disabled people frightened to go get treatment until they have no choice is a no. Putting disabled people at risk of harm which will require further treatment is a no.

At any time, anywhere, ignoring anyone’s Human Rights is a No.

This can be fixed. 2 lines of text added to this visitor policy would do it. I’d even be happy to help them write it.

We don’t need to take this further, unless they’d prefer a lengthy Judicial Review to a half an hour Zoom call and 10 minutes of work. Either way, this will be resolved. NHS England, it’s up to you.

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