The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has said that the government must not forget disabled people in its ever-evolving testing programme.
It worries that younger disabled people in particular may not receive adequate testing.
While acknowledging that age is the biggest factor in COVID-19 deaths, VODG suggested that testing old and young will stop the spread of the virus.
In a recent VODG statement, the body warned: “While [we] recognise that government’s response must protect all citizens, we are concerned that its current programme for coronavirus testing continues to overlook disabled people and the workforce supporting them.”
VODG believes that changes in recent days suggest strongly the possibility that disabled people may not get the proper amount of testing. It reported cases of care service providers requesting testing kits only to be denied.
It continued, advising: “As the government expands the availability of testing, it must recognise that the social care sector supports many different people. Furthermore, its strategy for testing must reflect the risk to individuals as well as the risk of transmission.
“Without shifting its response away from institutions to putting people who rely on social care services at the centre of its approach, the risk is that future policy responses will affect disabled people disproportionately. The decisions policymakers are making today, which are negatively impacting on disabled people, risk being replicated in the future.”
VODG also claimed that bodies such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS England have not been forthcoming with data that could prove helpful in responding to the current pandemic.