Many older and disabled people are being pressured to sign Do Not Resuscitate forms, and many frightened of going to hospital as official NICE and BMA guidelines state that we can be deprioritised for medical attention, intensive care and denied ventilators. Thanks to our friends at Disabled People Against Cuts for putting together a template letter for people to email your MP asking them to press the Minister for Health Matt Hancock, and senior NHS officials:
“In spite of a small climb down by NICE, activists remain concerned that the lives of disabled people will be deemed to be of lesser value than those of non-disabled people in the event of rationing of equipment needed to treat Coronavirus. Many older and disabled people in various locations around the country have already received letters from GPs asking them to sign DNR and DNAR [Do Not Resuscitate] forms. In a few cases even when people have refused to do so, GPs have issued these as unfortunately doctors can have the last say about not resuscitating you and overrule your wishes.
“If you value your own lives we are asking you to email your MPs urgently and a template letter is below.
“You may also wish to look at the Not Dead Yet website
Not Dead Yet UK: Call to Action http://notdeadyetuk.org/covid-19-a-call-to-action/
<Add your name and postcode >
Dear <Add name of your MP – find yours at https://www.writetothem.com/ >
I am writing to you, as my MP, to ask you to protect the rights and lives of Disabled people.
Since Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has started to spread, there are stories in the news that are very worrying. Some doctors have been sending groups of Disabled people ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ forms to sign (1). This has happened even though the NHS says that doctors must talk to people first.
I am worried that some people think Disabled people are not worth the same as other people (2) I’m also worried that Disabled people might not get:
- a choice about signing these forms;
- life-saving care, if they become really ill with Coronavirus;
- help and support to understand what is happening with care.
This would be against NHS rules, the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.
I do not agree that doctors should be made to use ‘frailty scales’ (3) to decide who does, or does not, get treatment for Coronavirus. Hospital doctors can already decide if a treatment will be good for a patient, and decide the best way to use medicines and equipment.
Although the advice has been changed (4) to say ‘frailty scales’ should not be used for some Disabled people, they can be for others, so it is still discrimination.
Everyone has equal value, whatever our age, health or disability.
I know that this is a very difficult time for the NHS, but it is not Disabled people’s fault that health services have had their funding cut. It’s not our fault that services don’t have enough equipment.
Please support Disabled people and write to:
Matt Hancock, Minister for Health and Social Care
Simon Stevens Chief Executive NHS
Ian Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Improvement.
Please ask them to:
- Get rid of the NICE guidance about the ‘Clinical Fraility Scale.’
- Support Disabled people to have a choice about their treatment.
- Protect people’s rights under the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.
- Work with Disabled people and Human Rights groups when deciding on rules and advice about Coronavirus.
I look forward to hearing from you about their responses. Thank you.
<Add your name>
(1) CQC condemns ‘do not resuscitate’ notices on care plans
(2) ‘Whose Life Counts?’ British Institute of Human Rights
(3) ‘The Clinical Frailty Scale is not suitable for use with people with learning disabilities’ – Nursing Times
(4) ‘NICE updates rapid COVID-19 guideline on critical care’
Please also read:
‘Coronavirus: Anger over ‘terrifying and discriminating’ intensive care guidance’ – Disability News Service
Not Dead Yet UK: Call to Action COVID-19 – A call to action “