Kirsten Oswald, Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire, is backing a campaign by the disability charity, Sense, to ensure that the forthcoming UK-wide inquiry into the Covid pandemic hears the experiences of disabled people, who have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Kirsten attended an event run by the disability charity, Sense, where she learned about Sense’s campaign and discussed the impact of the pandemic on disabled people and their families.
Kirsten spoke to Emma Blackmore, who was born with congenital rubella syndrome which affects her vision and hearing and shared her experiences of the pandemic including increased loneliness and anxiety.
This was a chance for MPs to learn more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which takes place annually on December 3 to promote an understanding of disability issues and support for disabled people.
Sense research shows that nearly three quarters of disabled people (73%) believe their needs have been ignored and have not received enough support during the pandemic.
Nearly two thirds of disabled people (63 per cent) said their mental health has worsened and 61 per cent of disabled people feel less optimistic about their future.
Sense has launched a petition calling for disabled people to be a key focus of the inquiry into the pandemic; this has already gained more than 26,000 signatures.
Sarah White, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Research at Sense, said:
“We were delighted to welcome Kirsten Oswald MP to our event and we greatly appreciate her interest in raising awareness about the impact of the pandemic on disabled people and their families. ”
“Disabled people should never have to experience the lack of information, support and consideration that they’ve seen during this crisis. It’s important that we continue to work together to learn from the mistakes that have been made and ensure this never happens again.”
“It was a privilege to meet Emma and all those backing the Sense campaign to put disabled people at the heart of the UK-wide inquiry into the pandemic.“
“I have tabled questions to the Prime Minister asking him to ensure that the inquiry panel includes disabled people and that their voices are heard directly in the inquiry process.”