Scottish Independent Living Coalition - a statement

April 21st, 2020

GDA is part of SILC, the Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) of Disabled People’s Organisations

Disabled people’s rights to health and life under threat, warn Disabled People’s Organisations

Members of the Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC) are today calling for immediate action to address evident threats to disabled people’s rights to life and health.

While welcoming initiatives taken by Scotland’s leaders and acknowledging the unprecedented challenges, SILC members - organisations led by disabled people themselves – cite growing evidence that initiatives are not yet benefitting disabled people as intended.

  • Urgent action is needed to reinforce fundamental rights to life and health, as disabled people around Scotland report being pressured into agreeing Do Not Resuscitate notices or are denied potentially life-saving treatment just on the basis of disability. 
  • The vital role of Social Care during this crisis is being undermined, according to SILC members, with essential support packages removed and vital Personal Protective Equipment denied to many who use or deliver social care – putting disabled people, their carers and workers, at increased risk.

SILC’s Statement sets out 10 key points for action, underlining the importance of involving disabled people throughout, and offering assistance to help ensure essential services are designed and delivered in non-discriminatory ways that respect disabled people’s human rights to health and life.

Dr Jim Elder-Woodward OBE, Chair of SILC, said today:

“Too often disabled people’s lives are devalued and we are made to feel like second-class citizens. Yet, at a time of crisis, the quality of life and the human rights of those on the margins of society, such as disabled people, are as important as any other.  It is unacceptable for any disabled person to feel pressured into agreeing to a Do Not Resuscitate notice or not being admitted to hospital if they fall ill, or for their expressed wishes not to be respected. No one should be refused equal access to life-saving treatments just because they are a disabled person, regardless of their health status.

We appreciate this may be far from the intention, yet there is clearly more to be done to ensure that this does not happen in practice. The Scottish Independent Living Coalition would welcome opportunities to ensure disabled people’s voices are heard and our human rights are fully met.”

Read the full statement. 

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