Disabled people want next year’s Covid Inquiry to investigate their experience, as new research highlights the impact of the pandemic

  • More than three quarters (77%) of disabled people say the Covid Inquiry must investigate what has happened to them, and if it doesn’t, fear the same mistakes will happen again.
  • Making up six in 10 of all Covid deaths, disabled people have been one of the hardest hit groups of the pandemic – and three quarters (75%) say their needs have been overlooked and haven’t received enough support.
  • Nearly two thirds (63%) of disabled people say their mental health has got worse during the pandemic, with over half (54%) citing a deterioration in physical health.
  • Sense, the national disability charity who conducted the research, have launched a petition calling on disabled people to be put at the heart of the inquiry.

London, UK, 8 September 2021 – More than three quarters (77%) of disabled people want the Inquiry into the UK’s handling of Covid to investigate their experience, and fear if it doesn’t, the same mistakes will happen again. That’s according to new research by the national disability charity, Sense, who have launched a new petition calling on the Government to put disabled people at the heart of next year’s Inquiry.

Disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Six out of every 10 people who died from Covid in 2020 were disabled, while making up 22% of the population. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and created new ones. From difficulties accessing groceries and medical essentials, to a reduction in vital care support. Isolation and loneliness levels have spiralled.

Published today, the findings of a survey of over two thousand disabled people and family carers, reveals that nearly three quarters (73%) of disabled people believe their needs have been ignored, and have not received enough support during the crisis.

The impact of this is laid bare, with nearly two thirds (63%) of disabled people reporting that their mental health has got worse, and over half (54%) citing a deterioration in their physical health. Personal relationships (36%) and personal finance (34%) have also been negatively impacted by more than a third of disabled people.

The experience of the pandemic has meant that nearly two thirds (61%) of disabled people feel less optimistic about their future. 

More than three quarters (77%) of disabled people now want the Public Inquiry to investigate what has happened, and nearly half (47%) want it to happen within the next six months, amidst rumours it will be pushed beyond the promised date of spring 2022.

Sense has now launched a petition calling on disabled people to be put at the heart of the inquiry.

The charity wants to see:

  1. A key section of the inquiry investigating the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people and their families, with them being invited to contribute evidence.
  1. A panel leading the inquiry that is representative of disabled people
  1. The inquiry to be run in an accessible way so that disabled people can participate and engage with it.

Richard Kramer, Sense Chief Executive, said:

“The experience of disabled people must be at the heart of this inquiry.

“We have to investigate the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on disabled people and the decisions and policies that have led to this outcome.

“Never again should disabled people have to experience the lack of information, support and consideration that they have during this crisis.

“We must learn from the mistakes that have been made and ensure disabled people are no longer and will never again be treated like second class citizens.”

Contact Sense’s media team

Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 020 7014 9384