COVID-19 Statement of Concern

Fri 1 May 2020
COVID-19 Statement of Concern

Internationally recognised Australian experts in the areas of human rights, bioethics and disability, have today released a Statement of Concern to emphasise key human rights principles and standards that need to underpin ethical decision-making in the context of disability and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are much greater risks from the COVID-19 pandemic for people with disability, in particular, for older people with disability, First Peoples with disability, people with intellectual or psychosocial disability, those with chronic health conditions, co-morbidities, dependence on ventilators and compromised immunity. 

Signatories propose the following human rights principles for ethical decision-making:

  1. Health care should not be denied or limited to people with disability on the basis of impairment.
  2. People with disability should have access to health care, including emergency and critical health care, on the basis of equality with others and based on objective and non-discriminatory clinical criteria.
  3. Health care should not be denied or limited because a person with disability requires reasonable accommodation or adjustment.
  4. Health care should be provided on the basis of free and informed consent of the person with disability.
  5. Health care should not be denied or limited based on quality of life judgements about the person with disability.
  6. Ethical decision-making frameworks should be designed with close consultation and active involvement of people with disability and their representative organisations.

The signatories provide the Statement of Concern acknowledging the significant challenges faced by the National Cabinet, the State and Territory health care systems, and medical and health care professionals across Australia and thank them for their efforts.

Read the Statement of Concern below:

This Statement of Concern was commissioned by:

  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
  • People With Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
  • National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
  • First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
  • ACT Council of Social Service Inc. (ACTCOSS).