NHS letters are being sent to 1.5million vulnerable people in England asking them to isolate and shield from coronavirus for a period of at least 12 weeks – but how many people in Nottingham are being contacted? And are they responding to their letters?

Coronavirus in the UK has seen NHS letters and text messages being sent to around 1.5million high risk people.

The letters ask people to safely isolate at home to shield themselves from catching Covid-19 as they are more likely to be hospitalised and suffer with the severe symptoms of the virus.

In Nottingham almost 5,000 extremely vulnerable people have so far been identified by the NHS as needing protective shielding measures. These people should have received a letter direct from the NHS or Department of Health & Social Care.

The letters ask people to register their support needs on a Government hotline 0800 028 8327 or website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable 

The City Council is urging people to ensure that they have followed this advice and registered with the Government even if they do not currently need any support, it is still important to register.

Of the 5,000 Nottingham people receiving letters, approximately 66% have not yet registered.

The Government has established a national scheme to support those needing either food or medicine supplies with a weekly delivery service to their front door. This process has now started and is gearing up over the next few weeks.

Local Authorities have been asked to reach out to those in shielding measures to assist them in the short term with any food requirements or to support with social contact over this isolation period.  Now that the City Council has received this data from NHS partners a huge outreach programme has begun to contact those vulnerable people who have not yet registered. The registration process is key to ensuring the right support measures can be put in place including the local food parcel deliveries through the recently established Nottingham City Council food delivery service.

To encourage people to register, council call centre staff will be making telephone calls as well as raising the profile of the registration process through the local press and social media channels.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, Cllr Rebecca Langton, said: “Almost 5000 people in Nottingham have received letters from the NHS or Department of Health & Social Care. If you have received a letter, or you know someone who has, then we urge you to register your needs with the Government hotline on 0800 028 8327 or go online to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable 

“Once people register their needs they will be connected to the national supply service that has started which includes the delivery of food parcels to their front door and medicine deliveries via community pharmacies. Food parcels are 100% free for extremely vulnerable people on the NHS shielding measures. But to get this support we do need people to register with the Government as requested in the letters.

“To encourage people to register we are actively making telephone calls to contact people and we’re raising the profile of this issue through the local press and the Council’s social media channels.

“If you don’t need any support it is still important to register with the Government hotline or website – because then our services will know that you are safe and we can focus on helping others.

“However, we know that in the short term some of our vulnerable residents may have immediate concerns or need an emergency food parcel to be delivered them, if so, please just call the Council as we have established a local support system to help with food parcel deliveries, urgent medicines and social contact support. You can contact us on our main Customer Hub phone number 0115 915 5555 or fill in our online form at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/coronavirus

Ends –

Notes to Editors

What are shielding measures?

People in the NHS shielding measures include those being treated for specific cancers, anyone who has recently undergone an organ transplant and those with severe respiratory conditions like cystic fibrosis.

It also includes some people who take certain drug treatments that can suppress the immune system – leaving the body less likely to be able to fight the virus.

Those identified as needing the shielding measures are being urged to stay at home and completely isolate for 12 weeks. Council workers are ready to help by distributing food parcels to vulnerable people isolating in their homes in Nottingham. The Council is overseeing an operation which involves food parcels being put together at one of its leisure centres by a team of council staff, strictly observing social distancing rules.

What other support is available locally?

A Customer Hub has been established to take calls from members of the public and already supported over 800 callers. If people who are self-isolating but do NOT have friends or neighbours who can help, they can call for assistance. This service can help with connect you to community support groups and neighbourhood volunteer groups. The support available includes emergency food delivery, help with picking up prescriptions and signposting to the appropriate agencies to best meet their needs. They can call the Council on their Customer Hub phone number 0115 915 5555, Monday to Friday , 9.00am till 5.00pm or fill in the online form at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/coronavirus