Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, accessing Education within a safe setting for those that are deemed Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), Clinically Vulnerable (CV) and those in Diagnostic Odyssey (DO) was a challenging experience to say the least however the option was there for Educators to make Exceptional teaching arrangements for these children and their families.
The difficulties for families, teachers and clinicians to access this fundamental human right (Right to Education) has become harder during this Pandemic. Families are being referred to EWO, Social Services and Courts due to unauthorised absences because of the danger that Covid-19 poses to them or their CEV Children, due to Schools not having the power to use the code for Exceptional Circumstances for all CEV Families.
To get access to this code we have been advised to now work with our clinicians but our clinicians are unable to make a blanket decision for a whole family. We are hearing of GP's unable to supply medical evidence for families to give to schools due to PHA advice. With the Removal of CEV & CV status from Children and that Schools have opened and most are now operating as normal with very little mitigations put in place we really want to highlight alongside the Good Law Project that the Department for Education’s guidelines breach each of these:
Human Rights act 1998
Article 2: the right to life; Article 8: the right to respect for private and family life; Article 14: prohibition on discrimination in securing of HRA rights; and Protocol 1, Article 2: the right to education
Equality Act 2010
s19: indirect discrimination s20: duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting a disabled person at substantial disadvantage; s85(2): duty on school not to discriminate against a pupil in the provision of, or failure to provide, education to them, or by subjecting them to any other detriment; s89: and paragraphs 1-2 of Schedule 13: reasonable adjustments; and s149: public sector duty.
At present our CEV CV families feel we have lost our rights and legal duties that protected us pre-pandemic the Good Law Project’s case clearly shows this.
It is F4VL working alongside The Good Law Project’s mission to change this. We are campaigning for change. We want to see Children that are CEV, CV or have family members that are one of the above have their fundamental Human Rights respected and acted upon by the powers that be, whether that be at Local, Devolved or Parliament level. We want the Government to enact the following:
- Reevaluate the “paused” shielding programme, and consider developing an opt-in system with clinicians & head teachers best placed to decide if their patients/pupils need to shield.
- Develop specific guidance for all educational settings to ensure the option of learning and teaching from home for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable learners and teachers.
- To consider the impact of continued high levels of community transmission on the CEV and CV shielding community including those unable to shield, particularly in relation to receiving safe routine medical care for their conditions when the NHS is overcapacity and to be able to safely receive social care.
2. Access to Work within a safe setting
With Current PHA guidance it is business as normal in most workplace settings, however for those that were previously shielding due to being classed as CEV, CV and DA it is physical and mentally dangerous situation that the PHA and Government have put staff and business owners in.
We at F4VL want to campaign to allow those previously diagnosed as CEV, CV or currently within a DA be afforded the equal opportunity of working in a safe environment. We believe that the current guidance for employers from the PHA and Government go against the fundamental human rights:
Human Rights act 1998
Article 2: the right to life; Article 8: the right to respect for private and family life;
We want businesses and the Government to consider the following mitigations while employing those previously deemed as CEV, CV and DA:
- Reevaluate the “paused” shielding programme, and consider developing an opt-in system with clinicians & employers best placed to decide if their patients/staff need to shield.
- Support employees with the opportunity to work from home and provide appropriate resources to enable the staff member to do so as if they were working from their office.
- Government to offer grants to small businesses to be able to purchase said IT equipment to enable those staff previously identified to shield to work from home.
3. Access to safe Emergency Care (A+E)
During this Pandemic those that are CEV, CV and DA have tried to stay clear of hospitals, F4VL know of a number of those that have been seriously hurt from falls and have not been seen by medical professionals even though this is the best action but due to fear and current pressures on our NHS and local Health Care providers. Those that require urgent medical attention are not seeking it.
We at F4VL want the Government and NHS to reevaluate the current methods of Accident and Emergency and to try and mitigate some of these issues regarding accessing emergency medical care.
4. Access to safe social care and medical treatment
Alongside campaigning for safer schools, safer access to work and Emergency Care we will be campaigning for safe access to social care and general medical needs.
While we understand that our health system is on its knees we are not campaigning against them, we are campaigning for them.
The health and care professionals within our Hospitals, Doctors surgerys and Care in the Community are at breaking point due to the stresses brought on during the pandemic, our system was already at breaking point pre pandemic and Covid has only made it worse.
We are wanting the Government and PHA to assist these agencies.
5. Being Able to Mitigate our own Risks for CEV Diagnostic Odyssey (Mitigating Risks)
Article 2 of the Human Rights Act protects your right to life.
This means that nobody, including the Government, can try to end your life. It also means the Government should take appropriate measures to safeguard life by making laws to protect you and, in some circumstances, by taking steps to protect you if your life is at risk.
Public authorities should also consider your right to life when making decisions that might put you in danger or that affect your life expectancy. The courts have decided that the right to life does not include a right to die. Separately, Protocol 13, Article 1 of the Human Rights Act makes the death penalty illegal in the UK.
With the above definition of Article 1 and Protocol 13 of the Human Rights Act we are campaigning to the Government including local and devolved, of the right to take steps to protect our life if it is at risk.
We believe that the Public Authorities have not considered our right to life when they have made key decisions and have directly put CEV, CV and Diagnostic Odyssey families in direct danger and that our life expectancy has been affected by these decisions. Thus completely going against Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.