Council well prepared for national helpline
Perth & Kinross Council put in all necessary preparations at the outset of lockdown to support vulnerable people in its communities. The Council was therefore well prepared for the new national helpline number for Coronavirus support. The helpline was announced by the Scottish Government yesterday and the Council started taking calls immediately, though it did not officially open until today (14 April).
The helpline - 0800 111 4000 - is for people who are at high COVID-19 risk and do not have family or community support to provide food and medication, links to social work, emotional support or contact with local volunteers. It is aimed at people who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons, and is in addition to support provided for people who are 'shielding' because they have specific very high risk health conditions.
Chief Executive Karen Reid said, "If you are a person who is over the age of 70, has a disability, requires the support of mental health services, is pregnant or receive a flu jab, Perth & Kinross Council can help you with access to food and medication or local emotional support and volunteering. Please contact us on the national helpline or our own number for Coronavirus enquiries, 0345 30 111 00.
"We have already set up a team of over 70 people to support vulnerable and shielding people in different ways, with a single phone number and email address to help anyone in our area who needed support due to the Coronavirus outbreak, so we are in a strong position to pick up and respond to calls to the national helpline.
"I'd like to thank they many community groups and over 600 volunteers we are linking up with to help people in their local areas, as well as our dedicated staff who are working tirelessly to make sure nobody goes hungry or without medication."
Shielding letters are being sent to individuals with specific health conditions which make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. These people are being asked to self-isolate for 12 weeks, without leaving home. You should be shielding if you:
- have had solid organ transplants
- have cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy
- have lung cancer and are either receiving or previously received radical radiotherapy
- have cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- are receiving other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD
- have rare diseases, including all forms of interstitial lung disease/sarcoidosis, and inborn errors of metabolism (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell) that significantly increase the risk of infections
- are receiving immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection
- are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired)
Shielding letters contain details of an SMS text service with which you can register to receive grocery parcels and priority booking for supermarket deliveries, and you can also call the national helpline or the Council direct for support.
Non-shielding vulnerable people
Other people may not fall into the shielding group but are still at higher risk of becoming ill should they contract COVID-19. This includes people who are over 70, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons. People in this group will not receive a letter and are encouraged to call the national helpline or the Council direct on 0345 30 111 00 if they need support.