Leeds doctor Hannah Barham-Brown says 'disabled people feel abandoned' by Government amid the pandemic

A Yorkshire doctor and politician has lamented that “disabled people felt abandoned at a time when we most needed help” after new research showed that many believed their needs had been overlooked amid the pandemic.

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, of the Women's Equality Party. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, of the Women's Equality Party. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, a trainee GP in Leeds and a deputy leader of the Women’s Equality Party, spoke out today after the results of a YouGov poll were reported.

The survey, which the BBC commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, asked more than 1,000 people about life with a disability and how it has changed after the pandemic.

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More than 65 per cent felt their rights had regressed, and 71 per cent said disabled people’s needs had been overlooked, reported the BBC.

Dr Hannah Barham-Brown practising in Leeds. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, nearly six out of 10 deaths from Covid-19 between March 2 to July 14 2020, were of disabled people.

Dr Barham-Brown, of South Milford, said: “Throughout the pandemic the disabled community have called for more support, and the data from YouGov clearly quantifies the fear many of us feel that our rights have actually regressed.

"Many have struggled to access essentials such as food and medicine, or been unable to source PPE for their carers, placing this already high-risk cohort in an unnecessarily vulnerable position.

"When the Government continue to fail to even provide British Sign Language interpreters for No 10 Briefings, and we have barely heard from the minister for disabled people throughout this crisis, it is all too clear that 25 years on from the Disability Discrimination Act, disabled people feel abandoned at a time when we most needed help.”

Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, defended the Government’s record to the BBC and said it had sought to create “good awareness” of disability issues to ensure “our support is inclusive”.

He told the broadcaster the government is developing a national strategy for disabled people to “remove barriers in society and help create a more inclusive society”.

The Department of Health and Social Care was contacted for any additional comments.