Coronavirus: 2,000 more Suffolk people added to ‘extremely vulnerable’ list

PUBLISHED: 10:15 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:15 05 May 2020

There are now 20,000 people on the social shielding list in Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

There are now 20,000 people on the social shielding list in Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


More than 20,000 people in Suffolk are being told not to go outside due to Covid-19 – after hundreds more were added to the official list of “extremely vulnerable”.

In Ipswich, 45 emergency food parcels were delivered in one week to people in that group, who are unable to get their own supplies after they were told in a government letter: “Do not leave your house.”

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Since the outbreak of the global pandemic earlier this year, the government has created a “shielded patient list” of people believed to be “extremely clinically vulnerable”.

Many of these are people with specific medical conditions which put them at greater risk from Covid-19, such as those undergoing cancer treatment, those with breathing problems or pregnant women.

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Those people have been told to “strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus,” with many likely to have to stay shielded until the end of June – regardless of whether the UK-wide lockdown is lifted.

The government initially identified 900,000 patients nationally who it believed fell within that group, with those individuals receiving NHS letters and text messages advising them what to do.

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That was increased to a total of 18,000 in Suffolk last week, after GPs added to the list with patients they believed also qualified.

Doctors have continued to add to that list, meaning that the list has grown by more than 10% in the past week to a total of 20,000.

Ipswich Borough Council’s latest regular coronavirus update said: “The county, districts and boroughs have been proactive in contacting shielding residents that had not responded to the original NHS letter to enquire whether urgent support was required.”

Since April 2,123 emergency food parcels have been delivered to Ipswich residents unable to leave their homes to get supplies.

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Between April 20 and April 26, 45 emergency food parcels were delivered.

There has also been help for people unable to collect prescriptions, including those on the social shielding list.

A system for collecting and delivering medicines was established between Suffolk councils, the NHS and transport providers from April 20, where the council takes calls from the Home, But Not Alone number.

The patient’s details are then passed to a community transport provider to collect and deliver medicines, with 14 requests relating to prescriptions between April 20 and April 26.

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