Tanni Grey-Thompson: Treatment of disabled people 'getting worse' since coronavirus pandemic

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson says she thinks "quite a lot" that things are not getting better for disabled people Credit: PA

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said she thinks "quite a lot" that things are not getting better for disabled people in the wake of the pandemic.

Speaking to Adrian Masters for ITV Cymru Wales programme Face to Face, she said disabled people in society still weren't getting the treatment they deserved.

"I do think that quite a lot, and I know I get treated better than most disabled people," she said.

"I've turned down very individualised offers of support because I know the company think it'll make me go away.

"Because actually it's not about me, it's about everybody else."

Tanni Grey-Thompson became one of the countries greatest athletes Credit: PA

The former paralympic star said 60% of people who have died from Covid have been disabled, and that the virus has left them feeling increasingly "vulnerable."

She claims it is a problem that pre-dates the pandemic.

She said: "Disabled people sort of feel quite lost.

"I think if you look at trains, [stations] were meant to be step free from January 1 last year, and now we're told it might be 2070 before that happens.

"A lot of issues in terms of access and education and employment just never quite get high enough up the agenda.

"I think we shouldn't be fighting for some of the same things that we were fighting for 40 years ago.

"The ability to get on a train and get into mainstream education and to get health and social care, some of those things should be further along."

Tanni speaks to Adrian Masters on this week's episode of Face to Face Credit: ITV Wales

In a wide-ranging interview, Grey-Thompson, who was born with spina bifida, talked about her childhood in Cardiff and her parents' battle to get her into a mainstream school.

She recalled the single-minded determination which led her to become the UK's greatest wheelchair athlete. 

But the 51 year old, who won 11 gold medals at five paralympics, said she won't miss competing when the action gets underway in Tokyo later this year.

"I still remember what it was like to compete on the track and I still love wheelchair racing with a huge passion. I love watching it, I just don't want to do it anymore!

"I was really privileged to compete when I did and be part of a growing movement, but my time is gone."

And asked if the games - originally scheduled for 2020 - should go ahead given the ongoing pandemic, she said 'with hindsight' they should have been postponed, but agreed they should now go ahead."I think that would have been the best option but then that would bring them into conflict with other competitions."

"I don't think it's going to be an easy games. Once we're in the village and it starts happening I think we're going to see athletes not being able to compete.

 "But yeah, I think it probably should go ahead."

  • Face to Face, with Adrian Masters, is on ITV Cymru Wales tonight at 1045pm