What is the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on disabled people in Sheffield?Download (PDF 332KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Sheffield and Disability Sheffield collected insight on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people to make a submission to the Scrutiny Committee in March 2021.
The pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on disabled people’s wellbeing. Their mental health seems to have been impacted more so than their physical health. Disabled people disproportionately felt at high risk from Covid-19.
Disabled people have been disproportionately more likely to receive advice to shield, and to find information on shielding confusing. This impacted on their ability to get food and prescriptions.
Some people with a Learning Disability found it hard to understand the lockdown rules or restrictions and did not fully understand the risks associated with catching coronavirus.
Disabled people found the rules about face mask exemptions confusing. People with visual impairments found it difficult to adhere to social distancing guidance.
Disabled people disproportionately felt that the pandemic had prevented them from accessing health/social care services or other support. Whilst virtual meetings and appointments allowed more disabled people to take part, some people don’t have access to the right technology. GPs that shut their doors at the start of the pandemic were particularly difficult to access.
Health services didn’t always consider the need to provide alternative means of communicating changes to services for people with hearing or sight impairments.
Healthcare professionals wearing face coverings caused particular problems for people who needed to lip read.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, some disabled people got fewer hours of care than usual particularly on the social/community elements of their care. Where people had a direct payment for their care, they were still charged the full amount rather than for the reduced package.
Disabled people were unable to access respite care during the pandemic and were not given alternative options for support. This had a knock-on effect on carers.
Disabled people didn’t always know where to go to get accessible information about the Covid-19 vaccination. They didn’t always get a invitation to be vaccinated in a way that met their needs. The lack of choice of venues mean that people can’t choose the one that best meets their accessibility needs.
Changes to the physical environment to support social distancing had a negative impact on disabled people, including reduction of Blue Badge parking spaces. Consultation periods were very short, making it difficult for disabled people to participate.
The report includes 14 recommendations aimed at addressing the issues raised.