Parents of disabled children ‘felt abandoned’ during lockdown, MSPs told

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee heard that parents fear what a return to lockdown would mean for their children.

Craig Paton
Tuesday 18 January 2022 12:45
Families of disabled children have said they felt abandoned during lockdown (Danny Lawson/PA)
Families of disabled children have said they felt abandoned during lockdown (Danny Lawson/PA)

Families of disabled children felt abandoned during the coronavirus-induced lockdowns and fear the ramifications of more restrictions, MSPs have heard.

Various services supporting children and their families were stopped during the pandemic to slow the spread of the virus.

But Susie Fitton, the policy manager of Inclusion Scotland said this took a toll on families dealing with children with additional needs.

Ms Fitton told the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee at Holyrood that particular fault was found with services delivered by local authorities.

That feeling of abandonment hasn't abated for some families even though services in some cases have been re-instated

Susie Fitton, Inclusion Scotland

“Services that families were previously reliant on, services that were accessed either via the school or via respite provision, families reported to us that they felt abandoned by statutory services, particularly by local authority provision at a time when they most needed support,” she said.

“That feeling of abandonment hasn’t abated for some families even though services in some cases have been re-instated.

“That feeling that emergency planning did not cater for the needs of families with disabled children and young people has left people very fearful for the future, particularly if we have to go into lockdown at another period.”

Ms Fitton also said the strain experienced by local authorities in delivering social care services during the pandemic, which left some families without the support they need, “exacerbated mental strain for families”.

She went on to claim that strain “has made either pre-existing or pandemic-related mental health issues worse for disabled children and young people”.

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