Public Health Suffolk outlines expanded support for people self-isolating

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble said it was recognised some people self-isolating may need more support - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Public Health Suffolk is launching additional support for people forced to self-isolate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The authority is pledging £140,000 for training to support volunteers who will help people in the county having to isolate, which includes help for food, medicine and supplies, as well as ongoing support to access community groups for those at risk of loneliness.

A further £200,000 is being provided to help top up the national fund for people in financial difficulty when they have been asked to self-isolate but not eligible for the government £500 payment.

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble told the local outbreak engagement board: "We need to make it as easy as possible for people to self-isolate and take the right actions if they have symptoms.

"The first thing we want people to do is to get tested if they have symptoms. There may be some people whose lives mean they might really struggle if they have to isolate for that period of time, and what we realise is that actually all of our lives are complex and it might be that not everybody has got a support mechanism around them.

"It might be they have a dog to walk, they may have responsibilities looking after an elderly relative.

"What we are going to do is extend the home But Not Alone service set up for clinically extremely vulnerable people who were shielding, and we are going to turn that into a self-isolation support service.

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"When people test positive, we will do the contact tracing with them, and then they will follow up to see if they need any support or help to deal with their self isolation period.

"By doing that it will help more people to self isolate when we need them to to reduce the spread.

"Linked to that is understanding that some people might be isolating on their own, or they may be struggling.

"They may have poor wellbeing or mental health and they will need some support during that period. It is not easy being in your house 10 days in a row.

"We are funding some isolation buddies that can do some more intense work with those individuals that actually, after they have self isolated, looking at if we can bring those people into the wider community."