The Learning Disability Consortium in Wales has published a report on the experience of people with a learning disability during the Coronavirus outbreak in Wales.
The report was co-produced by Learning Disability Wales, All Wales People First, All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers, Downs Syndrome Association, Mencap Cymru, and Cymorth Cymru. The report was written in response to consultations from Welsh Government’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee and the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.
Our report is written on behalf of people with a learning disability, their families and carers. We draw from reports conducted by several of our member organisations consisting of people with a learning disability themselves, People First Groups across Wales, family carers and service providers.
Our findings are:
- People with a learning disability and their families are struggling with significant anxiety and confusion. People are worried about coronavirus itself, the ambiguity of lockdown rules, and worries about the future.
- Many people have reported difficulties regarding the process of shielding. Sometimes people who should have been shielding have not received shielding letters, at other times people received them without understanding why.
- Staying safe has been a challenge for many people with a learning disability. People have reported several problems with accessing food and other commodities. They are worried about the safety of their paid support and struggle to access appropriate PPE.
- People with a learning disability have been struggling to access non-Covid-19 related health care. They have been missing out on Annual Health Checks and many have found interacting with their GP over the phone challenging.
- People with a learning disability are struggling with having lost significant support, in particular services, social workers and respite care. We are concerned not only about the effect that this loss of support has on people right now but also of the long-term effects. Parents with learning disabilities in particularly are worried about losing custody of their children after the end of lockdown because they are not getting the support they need with their children right now.
- The impact on people with a learning disability who were employed pre-Covid-19 varies quite significantly and those who continue to work have had to learn new things about the new ways of working and what they need to do to keep themselves safe while travelling to/from work and while at the workplace.
- There are some small positives being reported. Some people with a learning disability are learning new skills and we have reports of great community support. We have also found Welsh Government largely responsive to our concerns throughout this crisis.
Learning Disability Wales CEO Zoe Richards has given evidence to the Equalities, Local Government and Communities Committee.
For more information or to receive the report in a different format please email our policy officer Grace Krause at firstname.lastname@example.org.