Help and support for vulnerable people - Coronavirus
Safe and well
As part of the response to coronavirus, we established a 'safe and well' service, working with our community partners, to provide wellbeing checks and additional support to vulnerable residents.
The service offered support to vulnerable residents, and those who were told to 'shield' and remain at home to protect themselves from the virus. These checks include telephone support, offering advice and reassurance to vulnerable people in the community. Where a person is unable to leave their home and has no family, friends, or appropriate support network, we will also ensure they receive essential items, such as food and prescriptions, plus other appropriate support to keep you safe and well within your home.
The government has set out a roadmap for the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' on the future of the national shielding programme. For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July, and again on 1 August.
What are the changes?
Recently, the government advised that you can spend time outdoors, if you wish, with your own household, or if you live alone with another household. Following this, and alongside current scientific and medical advice, the government is planning to relax shielding guidance in stages.
From 6 July
The guidance will change so you can meet in groups of up to six people from outside your household – outdoors with social distancing. For example, you might want to enjoy a BBQ outside at a friend’s house, but remember it is still important to maintain social distancing and you should not share items such as cups and plates. If you live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), you will be able to form a support bubble with another household.
From 1 August
You will no longer need to shield, and the advice will be that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue maintaining rigorous social distancing.
Why is the guidance changing now?
The roadmap has been developed in line with the latest scientific and medical advice, and with the safety and welfare of those who are shielding in mind. Current statistics show that the rate of catching coronavirus in the community continues to decrease.
Unless advised otherwise by your clinician, you are still in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category. The government will monitor the virus continuously over coming months and if it spreads too much, may need to advise people to shield again.
Continued support for vulnerable and 'shielding' people
If you are in receipt of government provided food boxes and medicine deliveries, you will continue to receive this support until the end of July.
We will also continue to provide support to vulnerable people and those who are shielding, to enable them to stay safely in their homes.
If you, or someone you know, needs help or support to stay at home during this time, please contact us.
Or call one of our dedicated coronavirus helplines: 01925 442441 or 01925 442443.
Support available until the end of July
If you are shielding you will still can still access food and other essentials:
- Make use of the supermarket priority delivery slots available for shielding people. When a clinically extremely vulnerable person registers online as needing support with food, data is shared with supermarkets.This means if you make an online order with a supermarket (as both a new or existing customer), you will be eligible for a priority slot.
- Use the many commercial options now available for accessing food, including telephone ordering, food box delivery, prepared meal delivery and other non-supermarket food delivery providers.
- A free, standardised weekly parcel of food and household essentials. If you register for this support online before 17 July you will continue to receive weekly food box deliveries until the end of July.
- If you need urgent help, please contact us immediately using the contact details above.
NHS Volunteer Responders
Support will continue to be available through the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme beyond the end of July.
NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with:
- Collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies
- A regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who is also shielding and will stay in contact for several weeks
- Transport to medical appointments
Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health case professional for transport support. A carer or family member can also do this on their behalf.
More information is available at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk.
Income and employment support
At this time, if you are shielding you are advised not to go to work. This guidance remains advisory.
Those shielding will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on the basis of their shielding status until the 31 July (SSP eligibility criteria apply).
Support available after the end of July
NHS Volunteer Responders
NHS Volunteer Responders will continue to offer support to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.
The NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme has been expanded to offer a new 'Check in and Chat Plus' role. This new role has been designed to provide peer support and companionship to people who are shielding as they adapt to a more normal way of life.
If you are vulnerable, or at risk, and need help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, please call 0808 196 3646, 8am to 8pm.
Income and employment support
From 1 August, if you are unable to work from home but need to work, you can, as long as the business is 'COVID secure'.
The government is asking employers to work with them to ease the transition back to a more normal way of life for their shielding employees. It is important that this group continues to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role if required.
Where this is not possible, those who have been shielding should be provided with the safest onsite roles that enable them to maintain social distancing.
If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, they can continue to use the Job Retention Scheme for shielded employees who have already been furloughed.
Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit.
They should do so unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell).
If you are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, you should continue to access the NHS services you need during this time. This may be delivered in a different way or in a different place than you are used to, for example via an online consultation, but if you do need to go to hospital or attend another health facility for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place.
Mental health support
It is completely normal during these uncertain and unusual times to feel anxious or feel low.
Follow the advice that works for you in the guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus.
If you feel you need to talk to someone about your mental health or you are looking for more support for someone else, please contact your GP or call Warrington's Freephone mental health crisis helpline on 0800 051 1508. Lines are open 24 hours per day, seven days a week.