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Shielding support for clinically extremely vulnerable residents

Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall are reminding clinically extremely vulnerable residents that support is available with food shopping, medical prescriptions and mental health throughout the current lockdown.

The government is writing to everyone who has a health condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and who may have been shielding previously to stay at home as much as possible during this period of restrictions across England, except to go outdoors to exercise or to attend health appointments.   

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They have been asked to work from home if possible and if they cannot work from home, they should not attend work. They may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the lockdown.  

Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are also asked to avoid all non-essential travel – they should continue to travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by their doctor. They are strongly advised not to go to any shops or to pharmacies.  

Cornwall Council is working with partners in the health and voluntary sector to continue to support clinically extremely vulnerable residents in accessing food, essential supplies and wellbeing advice during this lockdown.    

Those in this group are eligible for free medicines delivery from community pharmacies during this period if friends and family are not able to collect prescriptions or medicines on their behalf. Prescriptions should continue to be ordered from the GP as normal, either electronically or via telephone.  

Supermarkets are continuing to provide priority delivery slots to vulnerable individuals and if residents need help getting online, for example to register for an online supermarket account, they can ring Cornwall Council’s support line for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable on 0300 1233334 or contact Volunteer Cornwall.   

Volunteer Cornwall can also help collect and deliver food shopping and medical prescriptions, as well as provide befriending support and volunteers who can help with other low level needs.    

Emergency food support is available at foodbanks throughout Cornwall. An interactive Help with Food map has been created in partnership with community organisations and is online at Let’s Talk Cornwall https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/help-with-food. 

Health services remain available and residents with a complex need or medical question should contact their GP or health consultant.   

Anyone who may be worried about their own or someone else's mental health can contact 0800 038 5300 for help and support.   

Rob Rotchell, Cornwall’s cabinet member for adults, said: “Together with NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall we are continuing to support our vulnerable adults who have had their lives affected so seriously by the pandemic 

“Please do get in touch with us if you need help with food, prescriptions or if you are feeling anxious and needing mental health support, and we will endeavour to help.”  

Dr Iain Chorlton, GP and chairman of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is really important that anyone who is shielding because they are clinically vulnerable makes full use of the support available.

“We all want to get back to a sense of normality and keep our loved ones, friends and patients protected in our ongoing efforts to overcome the pandemic which is why it is so important that everyone follows the Government guidance to keep us all safe and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable receive the support that they need.”

Emma Rowse, Chair of Volunteer Cornwall, said: “Once again, the Cornish community has shown great generosity of spirit and stands ready to support one another during this new lockdown. We have lots of volunteers and community groups on standby to help anyone who needs it, please reach out if you are struggling.” 

The clinically extremely vulnerable group includes those with reduced immune systems, for example due to organ transplants, or those with specific cancers or severe respiratory conditions, such as cystic fibrosis. The group list is updated regularly as patients’ conditions or the scientific evidence changes, so the majority will have received a letter previously from the NHS or their GP advising them of their inclusion.  

For more information or advice contact Cornwall Council on covid19@cornwall.gov.uk or ring 0300 1234 334.  

You can also contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk 

Story posted on January 13, 2020