COVID-19 resources

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Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: Government response to the Committee’s fourth report: fourth special report of session 2019–21

House of Commons

Government response to the ‘Unequal impact? COVID-19, disability and access to services’ report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee on 22 December 2020. The response addresses the report recommendations in relation to impacts on food accessibility; statutory code of practice on the public sector equality duty; impacts on health and social care; impacts on education and children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND); national strategy for disabled people; diversity and inclusion in practice; accessible communications; and the call for an independent inquiry. Responding to the call to bring forward a social care reform package, which includes the whole sector, in this financial year, the Government states that it is committed to the improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals this year. Its objectives for reform are to enable an affordable, high quality and sustainable adult social care system that meets people’s needs, whilst supporting health and care to join up services around people. DHSC wants to ensure that every person receives the care they need and that it is provided with the dignity they deserve.

Last updated on hub: 19 April 2021

Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act

House of Commons

This report considers the extent to which the temporary Coronavirus Act provisions have the potential to substantially restrict or curtail important rights that disabled people rely on for their quality of life. Where local authorities’ resources are severely affected by the pandemic, temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act can essentially replace Care Act duties with a duty to meet care and support needs only where not doing so would be a breach of an individual’s human rights. The report highlights concerns about evidence from the Local Government Association that some local authorities had taken a pre-emptive approach, triggering an easement in case it became necessary. It argues that the current process is not stringent enough to provide confidence that easements cannot be triggered for anything other than severe demand or resource issues caused by the pandemic. On balance, and subject to further guidance and increase transparency being implemented, the report accepts that the Care Act easement provisions may need to remain in place over the winter period. However, it argues that these provisions must not remain available in statute for any longer than is strictly necessary and must not become new norms, setting back disabled people’s rights by many years.

Last updated on hub: 29 September 2020

Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act: Government response to the Committee’s first report: second special report of session 2019–20

House of Commons

This memorandum sets out the Government’s response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act and the use of these for disabled people. It considers the recommendations made by the Committee in relation to three measures introduced under the Coronavirus Act 2020: Care Act easements, changes to the Mental Health Act and modifications to education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment and plan processes. The Government welcomes the Committee’s interim recommendations as well as the wider inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 for disabled people. Several actions (outlined in full in this document) have been taken to achieve an appropriate balance between responding to the pandemic and ensuring that disabled people have access to the services they need. This includes ensuring transparency regarding Care Act easements, removing Mental Health Act provisions from the Coronavirus Act and deciding not to renew the modification notice regarding EHC assessments.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery: the COVID-19 impact inquiry report

The Health Foundation

This report sets out the findings of the Covid-19 impact inquiry, exploring how the same factors contributing to this widening of health inequalities exposed the UK to a high death toll and reduced people’s ability to deal with the subsequent economic shock. Drawing on an extensive body of evidence, this report identifies what has driven such outcomes during the pandemic. The factors shaping the UK’s overall experience of the pandemic are complex and multifaceted, and the pandemic is still ongoing. The Covid-19 impact inquiry provides an initial assessment of the effects of the pandemic using evidence available up to May 2021. The report highlights that poor health and existing inequalities left parts of the UK vulnerable to the virus and defined the contours of its devastating impact. The pandemic has revealed stark differences in the health of the working age population – those younger than 65 in the poorest 10% of areas in England were almost four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those in wealthiest. Recovery needs to prioritise creating opportunities for good health – a vital asset needed to 'level up' and rebuild the UK economy. Government restrictions, although needed to limit Covid-19’s spread, have had wide-ranging consequences: from unmet health needs and mental health problems to education gaps, lost employment and financial insecurity. Some groups – young people, disabled people, ethnic minority communities and care home residents – have been more affected than others. Prisoners, homeless people and people experiencing sexual exploitation have also faced particular challenges. Type and quality of work, housing conditions, and access to financial support to self-isolate all contributed to increased exposure to the virus among working age adults. The legacy of the financial crisis has had a direct bearing on our experience of the pandemic. Deep-rooted issues – poor health, increased financial insecurity and strained public services – left the UK more vulnerable to Covid-19’s health and economic impacts.

Last updated on hub: 06 July 2021

Unheard voices: a qualitative study of LGBT+ older people experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Health and Social Care in the Community

This paper reports findings from a qualitative study into the immediate impact of social distancing measures on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) older people (≥60 years) living in the UK during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on in-depth interviews with 17 older people and 6 key informants from LGBT+ community-based organisations, exploring the strategies used to manage their situations, how they responded and adapted to key challenges. Five themes emerged related to: (1) risk factors for LGBT+ older people and organisations, including specific findings on trans experiences; (2) care practices in LGBT+ lives; (3) strengths and benefits of networking (4) politicisation of ageing issues and their relevance to LGBT+ communities and (5) learning from communication and provision in a virtual world. The findings illuminate adaptability and many strengths in relation to affective equality and reciprocal love, care and support among LGBT+ older people. It is vital UK that the government recognises and addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT+ older people during emergencies.

Last updated on hub: 18 August 2021

Unjust pains: the impact of COVID-19 on children in prison

Journal of Children's Services

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the treatment of children in penal custody. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a viewpoint piece that analyses the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for children in custody, drawing on published information where available. Findings: This paper argues that imprisoned children are an extremely vulnerable group, whose experience of incarceration exacerbates that vulnerability at the best of times. Responses to COVID-19 are particularly painful for children in those settings, and the consequences are manifestly unjust. Originality/value: This paper provides an early attempt to consider the impact of COVID-19 on children in prison.

Last updated on hub: 30 December 2020

Unlimited potential: report of the Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood

Fawcett Society

This report sets out how gender expectations significantly limit children, causing problems such as lower self-esteem in girls and poorer reading skills in boys. The report finds that stereotypes contribute towards the mental health crisis among children and young people, are at the root of girls’ problems with body image and eating disorders, higher male suicide rates and violence against women and girls. Stereotyped assumptions also significantly limit career choices, contributing to the gender pay gap. The report also evidences that parents want to see change and sets out a number of practical solutions. Key findings include: three quarters of parents (74%) say boys and girls are treated differently, and six in 10 (60%) say this has negative impacts; 70% of mothers and 60% of fathers agree that this unequal treatment affects how able boys are to talk about their emotions; asked what work parents could see their kids doing when they grow up, seven times as many could see their sons working in construction (22%) compared to just 3% for their daughters, while almost three times as many could see their daughters in nursing or care work (22%), compared to 8% in relation to their sons; 66% of parents want to see companies voluntarily advertise toys to boys and girls in the same way; and four in ten (38%) education practitioners had either had negligible training, or none at all, on challenging gender stereotypes before starting their role.

Last updated on hub: 22 December 2020

Unmet clinical needs for COVID-19 tests in UK health and social care settings


There is an urgent requirement to identify which clinical settings are in most need of COVID-19 tests and the priority role(s) for tests in these settings to accelerate the development of tests fit for purpose in health and social care across the UK. This study sought to identify and prioritize unmet clinical needs for COVID-19 tests across different settings within the UK health and social care sector via an online survey of health and social care professionals and policymakers. Four hundred and forty-seven responses were received between 22nd May and 15th June 2020. Hospitals and care homes were recognized as the settings with the greatest unmet clinical need for COVID-19 diagnostics, despite reporting more access to laboratory molecular testing than other settings. Hospital staff identified a need for diagnostic tests for symptomatic workers and patients. In contrast, care home staff expressed an urgency for screening at the front door to protect high-risk residents and limit transmission. The length of time to test result was considered a widespread problem with current testing across all settings. Rapid tests for staff were regarded as an area of need across general practice and dental settings alongside tests to limit antibiotics use.

Last updated on hub: 07 January 2021

Unseen and undervalued: the value of unpaid care provided to date during the COVID-19 pandemic

Carers UK

This brief document estimates the value of care provided during the COVID-19 pandemic across the nations of the UK and the value of care provided in England during the pandemic by region. These estimates are based on polling completed with YouGov, which found a nationally representative estimate for the prevalence of caring amongst the population as well as the number of hours of care being provided. Using population figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and an hourly rate of replacement care from the University of Kent, these polling figures were used to extrapolate an estimate for the number of carers across the UK, the hours of care provided across the UK and the value of this care. The report shows that the estimated value of care provided since the beginning of the pandemic to date in the UK is £135 billion corresponding to a daily value of £530 million. Further estimates for each region in England are provided.

Last updated on hub: 30 November 2020

Updating ethnic contrasts in deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), England and Wales: deaths occurring 2 March to 28 July 2020

The Office for National Statistics

Updated estimates of mortality involving the Covid-19 by ethnic group and investigation of the explanatory power of hospital-based comorbidity on ethnic differences, building on previous models published by the Office for National Statistics. Considering deaths up to 28 July 2020, males and females of Black and South Asian ethnic background were shown to have increased risks of death involving the Covid-19 compared with those of White ethnic background. In England and Wales, males of Black African ethnic background had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19, 2.7 times higher than males of White ethnic background; females of Black Caribbean ethnic background had the highest rate, 2.0 times higher than females of White ethnic background. All ethnic minority groups other than Chinese had a higher rate than the White ethnic population for both males and females. Looking separately at the care home population, males of Asian ethnic background and females of Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds (using broader ethnic groupings) also had a raised rate of death involving COVID-19 compared with people of White ethnic background after taking account of geography and health measures. These findings show that ethnic differences in mortality involving COVID-19 are most strongly associated with demographic and socio-economic factors, such as place of residence and occupational exposures, and cannot be explained by pre-existing health conditions using hospital data or self-reported health status.

Last updated on hub: 21 October 2020

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