Left Behind

The final survey of our parent panel, together with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from councils and health trusts, shows that whilst the rest of the country slowly returns to normal, disabled children and their families are being left behind.

On 16 July, we published Left Behind.  It reports on our survey of nearly 300 parent carers in June 2021 alongside the findings from a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests of local authorities and health service providers, showing how.   The survey exposes the impact of the pandemic on the progress of disabled children and young people, and the ongoing issues of social isolation and poor mental health; and the FOIs illustrate how disabled children’s health and care services have been drastically reduced during the pandemic.

  • Nearly three quarters (71%) of disabled children have seen progress managing their conditions – and their overall development – regress due to the pandemic.  
  • Over 70% of disabled children are still unable to access pre-pandemic levels of therapies and health services. 
  • Social isolation in families with disabled children has only got worse even as the lockdown has eased and schools have reopened, with 9 in 10 disabled children and 6 in 10 parents socially isolated. Our previous surveys also showcased high levels of social isolation, showing how consistent this problem has been during the pandemic. 
  • 7 in 10 NHS Trusts are failing to meet their targets for providing services for physiotherapy appointments and over half of local authorities have failed to meet their targets for providing vital Education, Health and Care plan assessments – leaving many disabled children unable to access vital services they need to manage their conditions.  
  • 40% of local authorities have cut respite care for families – despite the prevalence of relationship breakdown and social isolation in parents. 

These worrying statistics therefore show that urgent action is needed to address the fact that support services are not reaching children fast enough – creating devastating health impacts.