Advice from Kelly Ansell, BCP Lead for the council’s Covid-19 community response – the ‘Together We Can’ initiative – in reply to our recent enquiries about the help offered to elderly and vulnerable residents:
1. Operation Shield Support Service
Operation Shield is a Government initiative where around 1.5 million people across the UK have been identified as being at most risk from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) mainly because of an underlying health condition. These people have been strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.
“I am conscious that those residents in their 80’s and 90’s may not fall within the definition of the extremely vulnerable and therefore are part of the Operation Shield group who will have received a letter from the NHS identifying them as such.
For those who are within this group, the process is that they must register for assistance, either through a helpline or online. All the instructions are specified in the letter they will have received from the NHS. This process asks the individual to identify what sort of support they need. If residents have requested support with food, this will have triggered two things; (a) the delivery of a weekly food package direct from government appointed wholesalers, and (b) the sharing of their information with supermarkets so that they can gain online access to priority delivery slots.
To be clear, the council is not involved in this process. We do however, receive summary information about this cohort of people and the assistance they have requested.”
Kelly also offers a tip regarding registration for this service: “Log in and out once registered. After logging back in, your information should appear …”
2. Together We Can Support Service
Together We Can is an initiative led by BCP Council, working in close partnership with many other public, private and voluntary sector organisations, as well as community groups and residents.
“For those who are not part of the Operation Shield list (as they do not have a medical condition which places them within it) our service is there to help.
We can match residents who are unable to do their shopping with a volunteer who will do this for them. We have processes in place which enable this to happen safely. I would suggest that you advise your fellow residents who are experiencing this issueto get in touch with us on 0300 1237052.
Finally, my service is proactively contacting everyone on the NHS Operation Shield list. We have contacted over 4,000 people so far. We are providing advice on access to food as well as many other aspects during these calls, and are also matching people to volunteers as part of this process. We have 2,500 volunteers working with us, so we are very much able to respond to this need. “
Download advice for vulnerable people:
How to get help, support or advice from the BCP Together We Can team :
Request BCP Together We Can support using the online application form: www.togetherwecan.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/services/carepackageapplication/
For clinically extremely vulnerable people
Register with the Coronavirus support service from GOV.UK if either:
- you have a medical condition which means you’re classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus
- you’ve been told by your GP or hospital clinician that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable and need to ‘shield’
‘Shielding’ means not leaving your home and minimising contact with other members of your household
Details and registration at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
GoodSAM – NHS Volunteer responders
For vulnerable/high risk people
Some 700,000 people with medical training have signed up to the GoodSAM service as NHS Volunteer Responders, and can now be called upon to do simple but vital tasks such as:
- delivering medicines from pharmacies
- driving patients to appointments
- bringing them home from hospital
- making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home
GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), which will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them.
The service is not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is instead an additional service provided by the NHS.
- Register by phone – call 0808 196 3646, they are very helpful and supportive.
More details about this service can be found at www.digitalhealth.net/2020/03/goodsam-app-nhs-volunteers/