COVID-19 Test and Trace – Open Letter and what you can do next!

Open letter sent to the NHS

This afternoon Reasonable Access sent an open letter to NHS England about the COVID-19 Test and Trace system asking questions about accessibility of various parts of the process to disabled people.

The full letter can be found as:

We would like to thank the over 120 signatories and countless others who have worked with us on this issue over the last week!

Our letter has also been written about in the Disability News Service. John Pring has done a lovely job of framing the relevant issues.

What next? Write to your MP

We need to keep up momentum. Keep pressure on the government and NHS to make accessibility for disabled people a priority!

We would like you to write to your Members of Parliament (MPs) to tell them about the issues you or others face, our open letter and ask them to contact the Secretary for Health and Social Care to put pressure on him to make disability access a priority.

You can find who your MP is and what their contact details using the Parliament MP finder.

We haven’t provided a template because personalised contact is much more effective. You can search online for guides on writing to your MP, or the charity Gingerbread have an HTML guide you can get ideas from.

Alternative materials have been published – very quietly

Just before we sent the letter someone told us about the Test and Trace Alternative Formats Information page which answers some of our concerns, but no where near all of them. We still have questions including:

  • Why was this information not launched at the same time as the 27th May 2020 Test and Trace “How It Works” page?
  • If there had to be a delay in launch, why was there no indication that this information was coming?
  • Should disabled people have to wait over two weeks for information compared to non-disabled people?
  • Why has it not been widely promoted by @DHSCgovuk or @NHSuk Twitter accounts?

We also have concerns that the alternative information is very generic and will not apply to the specific COVID-19 test kits used and different testing centres which are all provided by different organisations.

Feel free to mention this and ask your MP to ask Matt Hancock about these issues as well.

Access is good for business and people – Esther, Konditor and Disability Justice Project

We at Reasonable Access are delighted to see one of our members Esther Leighton achieving such a positive and constructive outcome to raising an accessibility concern with a small business Konditor Cakes in London. Konditor has made an honest and public apology, fixed the access issues, and are now educating other business owners about how easy access can be as well as fundraising for the Disability Justice Project for the next six months.

We would like to see more businesses react so constructively and positively when disabled people point access barriers out to them – it’s cheaper, happier and more useful than any other response.

More information is shared on #SpreadJoyThroughCake