We’re delighted to be helping Fleur Perry in her legal challenge to the new NHS England Visitor Guidance which prevents disabled people from bringing anyone into hospital with them, unless they have end-of-life care, are a parent of a child, a birthing partner, or where the visitor will be contributing to meeting a person’s mental health needs.
This means disabled people who have other needs, including physical needs and communication needs, cannot be accompanied to hospital by someone trained to meet those needs. This is resulting in delayed emergency admissions, wasted outpatient appointments, and huge risks to both patients and medical staff.
This policy urgently needs to be changed so that disabled people, their families and their PAs, can work together with NHS staff to ensure everyone gets safe treatment.
Fleur has a very low body weight, she can’t press a call bell, and needs to supported in particular places when she’s moved. Fleur has been in situations where NHS staff were unaware how to safely meet her health needs; but what saved her from harm then was that there had always been someone with her. Most NHS staff are not trained in how to use my equipment or how to safely move me.
In an emergency situation, Fleur would not be able to train every nurse she met on how to do her care, and it’s not fair to be asking nurses to do a job they’re not trained to do safely. Put simply, if the guidance remains in place Fleur would not be safe on admission to hospital.
Thousands of disabled people employ PAs or other care and support staff to assist with personal care and day-to-day needs, and many also rely on family. Removing access to these essential people is not only unsafe and wastes time and money, but may be unlawful under the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.
A Pre-action Protocol letter has been sent to NHS England, suggesting that an urgent Judicial Review application will be made unless changes are made. Fleur’s blog is https://fleurperry.wordpress.com/
The Judicial Review letter is here: Fleur Perry Letter of Claim abridged
We are particularly grateful to Baroness Campbell of Surbiton who has supported this action on Social Media to highlight that challenges are being brought to provide reassurance that Equality Act rights and duties have not changed in the #Covid crisis.
More to follow!