At Disability Partnership Calderdale, we’ve been very aware that many of the more vulnerable members of society have struggled to obtain the support they need during the current lockdown. In particular, many disabled and unwell people were not included in the government’s list of extremely vulnerable people earmarked for specific support, including food parcels. We raised this issue with our local MPs, amongst others. Here’s the response from Craig Whittaker, MP for the Calder Valley.
15 April 2020
Thank you for contacting me about some of your members who have been informed that they do not qualify for the government’s “extremely vulnerable” category when they try to apply online.
In addition to the 1.5 million people identified in England with conditions already centrally identified, GPs are currently identifying other patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable. These patients will be contacted directly and will be advised to shield.
This means that if someone is identified by a GP to be clinically extremely vulnerable they will be added to the list, and will be able to access the cross-Government support package. If any of your members consider that they should be included in the extremely vulnerable group, they are advised to contact their GP. Once they are included in the system, they will be contacted and supplied with food parcels.
You were also concerned that those who do not have access to the internet are at a disadvantage in accessing information. Information and assistance is available by telephoning the Local Authority. Other sources of assistance are groups such as yourselves and for example, Age UK. You have included a leaflet that you have produced that gives information and contact numbers which are invaluable. Thank you for that. It will be most useful for myself and my staff. I have also sent out a leaflet to every household which people might find helpful. It includes local contacts.
The Government is working in partnership with groups, local government, local resilience, emergency partners and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can be delivered as soon as possible. Volunteer responders are helping to deliver shopping, medicines and other vital items. At this time, given limited time and resources and levels of staff absence higher than usual because of Covi-19 and the need to deliver essential supplies as soon as possible, it is not always possible to rely entirely on the paid workforce. Volunteers in this situation are necessary and invaluable.
Thank you again for contacting me.
Craig Whittaker MP