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Home deliveries of essentials begin for those at greatest risk from coronavirus

Coronavirus food box - Image credit: PA

Home deliveries of essentials begin for those at greatest risk from coronavirus

Home deliveries of essential groceries for people in Scotland at the greatest risk from coronavirus have now begun.

Letters from the Chief Medical Officer with specific guidance on avoiding infection and information about the support available, which includes access to home deliveries through a text message service, were sent this week to those who are at highest risk from COVID-19.

From Friday 3 April, those included in the scheme will be able to get home deliveries of essential food items such as soup, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee and biscuits, as well as toiletries such as shower gel and toilet roll.

Those in the high-risk group who do not have access to mobile phones will be able to register for deliveries through their local authority, with contact details available on the NHS Inform website or through the council’s main switchboard.

Six categories of high-risk health condition are covered by the scheme:

·         receipt of an organ transplant;

·         certain cancers and cancer treatments, including cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma and chemotherapy or radiotherapy for lung cancer;

·         severe respiratory conditions such cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD;

·         rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism such as SCID or homozygous sickle cell;

·         receipt of immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection;

·         pregnancy combined with significant congenital heart disease.

Other measures being put in place include delivery of specialist medicines such as chemotherapy drugs through local health boards, local resilience partnerships working with Community Pharmacy Scotland to scale up deliveries of medicines, and work with supermarkets to ensure priority delivery slots for people at high clinical risk.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “These new services are available to those at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who do not have support structures around them to help.

“This includes people with specific forms of cancer, severe respiratory conditions, certain rare diseases, recipients of organ transplants, those on immunosuppression therapies and pregnant women with congenital heart disease.

“Many people will have support from friends and family, but I would encourage everyone who receives a letter and requires support to sign up to the service immediately.

“This will ensure you have adequate supplies of food and essential items during these challenging times. 

“It is vitally important that people at highest clinical risk are shielded as much as possible, and our advice alongside this text service will help protect people from the detrimental effects of the virus, including disruption to health and social care and key services.

“Our local services must prioritise those most in need and by doing so we will protect them, reduce the burden on the NHS and save lives.

“By continuing to work together, we can all play our part in keeping everyone safe.”

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