Easington MP Grahame Morris has pledged his support for targeted recovery policies to help disabled children, young people and families recover from the pandemic.
It comes as new research from the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) – a coalition of over 80 charities – has found that six out of ten families with disabled children are still experiencing delays to health appointments to review and treat long-term conditions. In addition, over 50% of families are still unable to access therapies vital for their children’s health and development.
These delays can have a long-term impact on the management of a child’s development. The DCP has spoken to families where a child has cerebral palsy and hasn’t been able to access appropriate physiotherapy. Due to the lack of therapy, the child’s muscles have weakened and their condition has worsened.
Grahame Morris MP has signed up to become a Disabled Children’s Champion to make sure that, as the country eases out of lockdown, the disproportionate impact that many disabled children have faced is addressed.
Grahame Morris MP for Easington, said:
“I have committed to supporting disabled children, young people and families as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Research from the DCP clearly shows that they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic as health services, therapies, respite care and other services have been interrupted by the virus and its restrictions.
“This is why I have signed up to become a Disabled Children’s Champion and am backing calls for a COVID-19 recovery plan for disabled children and families.”
Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact and Chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, said:
“It is fantastic to have the support of Grahame in our campaign for a COVID-19 recovery, representing disabled children and families in the Easington constituency.
“At the DCP we have been surveying thousands of parent carers of disabled children as part of our ongoing research into the impact of the pandemic on this group.
“Disabled children need our help. We are calling on the government to implement a specific COVID-19 recovery plan that makes up for the absence of therapies which has impacted on disabled children’s physical development and opportunities to develop vital life skills, helping them catch-up with their peers. This plan must also support the wider family with additional respite care, mental health support and activities to tackle social isolation.”
The latest research report – No End In Sight – from the DCP involved over 400 families with disabled children answering survey questions. The report found that, although there has been some improvement for families in terms of accessing support via school or the health service, the breadth of distance between current and pre-pandemic levels of support is vast.
As support has been taken away, the DCP’s research shows that parents of disabled children have had to not only become full-time specialist teachers homeschooling, but also full-time carers. Responsible for tasks such as nursing, providing physiotherapy, administering drugs and attending children throughout the night – often without the necessary support, which was already stretched before the pandemic, resulting in many families feeling burnt out. Many parents have had to do this whilst still quite often working a full-time job or they have had to give up their employment in order to care for their child.