The Supreme Court has ruled in support of Kensington and Chelsea council’s withdrawal of overnight care to Elaine McDonald to save money. This will mean she will have no choice but to wear pads, although this is undignified and against her express wishes. Male judges are undermining a woman’s right to choose how she is helped with personal care.
The ruling has accepted that reviewing care plans can be treated as a reassessment of need. Therefore any contact with social services, even a phone call, could lead to detrimental changes to a disabled person’s care package.
The idea that privacy and independence can best be facilitated by dispensing with personal assistants or care workers at night was also supported by the Supreme Court. This is contrary to the government’s Independent Living Strategy, and undermines everything we have fought for as a disabled people’s movement for the last forty years. Personal assistance is vital to many disabled people’s independence and safety. Disabled people with complex health and social care needs who cannot move unaided should never be left alone at night in case of a fire or a sudden deterioration in their condition.
Disabled people, family carers, personal assistants, women, pensioners, community activists and trade unionists should come to the lobby to support Elaine and oppose this disgraceful ruling. Elaine’s overnight care should be restored immediately. A defeat for Elaine is a defeat for us all.
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