COVID-19, disablism and racism commission

August 3, 2022

A new COVID-19, disablism and racism commission, led by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has launched a call for views and experiences. The Commission urges disabled people and people with long-term health conditions from Black, Asian, and minoritised ethnic groups to share their perspectives on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The evidence gathered by the Commission on COVID-19, disablism, and systemic racism, which is led by the VODG and overseen by a Board of Commissioners, will be used to hold the UK Government to account over failings during the pandemic, as well as build solutions for transformative and sustainable change in social care.

Research already conducted by the Commission has shown that that disabled people, as well as people from Black, Asian, and minoritised ethnic groups, experienced disproportionate levels of harm during the pandemic. This was both in terms of risk of infection, illness, and death from COVID-19 but also because of the wider impact of COVID-19 on socioeconomic and health inequalities that already existed for these groups of people.

Little is known, however, about the impact of that harm on Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic disabled people. Taking adult social care as the primary focus, the Commission will specifically look at this intersection and explore solutions to directly tackle the long-standing inequalities and discrimination faced by disabled people from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic groups.

Kamran Mallick, Chair of the Board of Commissioners and Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, said, 'I lived through the pandemic and experienced first-hand the impact of decisions made by Government that negatively impacted on me.

'The very worst impacts of COVID-19 have fallen on disabled people and even more so on disabled people from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic groups. The evidence cannot be ignored and compels us all to learn from these experiences, to collectively seek out solutions and identify what must change.

'I am delighted to be working together with my fellow Commissioners to address these important issues and progress this critical agenda.'

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, said, 'VODG is honoured to be leading this important programme of work and to be supported by such an informed and accomplished Board of Commissioners.

'We will work closely with people who draw on social care, and their allies, to call attention to the injustice that has taken place for disabled people and their families since the onset of the pandemic. Our focus on co-produced solutions and future progress will enable us all to uphold the principles of justice and human rights.

'Through the scrutiny we will give to the Government’s COVID-19 response, and our concerns about how intersectional equality issues have been addressed, our hope is that the important work of this Commission will inform the COVID-19 Public Inquiry.

'We would anyone urge who is able to share their experiences to submit a response using one of the various routes offered.'

The Commission is also keen to hear from families, carers and people who work in social care.

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Commission will also examine the extent to which negative outcomes have arisen from systemic neglect of social care over many years.

Responses to the call for views and experiences can be submitted via an online survey, audio or video file, or written document. An Easy Read version of the survey is available. The deadline for submissions is Friday 30th September.

More information, including in Easy Read and British Sign Language (BSL), is available on the VODG website.

In other news, Age Cymru believes that care homes across Wales could benefit enormously from making better use of volunteers and the charity has developed a toolkit to support care homes.


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