People with Disabilities' Non-COVID-19 Related Health
Issued on July 10 2020
On 1st July 2020, DFI made a submission to the Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 Response. The submission discussed the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities' access to non-COVID related health services, including disability services and mainstream health services.
The submission highlighted the impact on people with disabilities and families of having disability services curtailed, and measures needed to address this.
The reduction of non-COVID-19 related health services, including primary care, acute hospitals, neurological services and rehabilitation has also had negative health impacts on many people with disabilities.
The submission also considered the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities and family carers. Mental health services must be appropriately resourced to respond to the additional demands due to COVID-19. Measures also need to be taken to ensure that mental health services are accessible to people with disabilities.
The submission highlighted the importance of telehealth in maintaining access to services. Telehealth has the potential to improve people with disabilities' access to health services. However, the expansion of telehealth must go alongside policies to address digital poverty, including the roll out of an Assistive Technology Passport for people with disabilities. Telehealth must not replace in-person services as many disability and health services can only be delivered in person.