There is a wide range of support available to local people – much of this within the voluntary and community sector, with national and local public sector support being implemented alongside this.
The established Cannock and Rugeley foodbanks have been very busy. There has been extensive small, locally based and individual neighbourhood support to family, friends and neighbours. Cannock Chase is also benefitting from the establishment of a comprehensive (and growing) range of services offered from volunteers working through the Chase Coronavirus Support Network (CCSN).
Further work is being undertaken to identify other local vulnerable people and referrals can be made uisng the Council's Contact Centre 01543 462621 or via email to CV19Public@cannockchasedc.gov.uk
Coronavirus Emergency Response Flowchart
The national NHS “shielding” scheme is aimed at those with the most acute underlying conditions and people undergoing treatment that compromises their immune systems.
NHS and individual GPs have identified these people – nationally there are 1.5 million and in Staffordshire there are 20,000. We are getting data on how many people are in this category in Cannock Chase District.
People in this group have been written to (many more than once) and had emails and text messages to encourage them to register for support. If they register they are able to request a delivery of a weekly food parcel to their home if they are unable to access food through family, friends and so on.
The deliveries continue for the 12 week isolation period (to late June) and are being undertaken by national food distribution companies.
Changes to Shielding announced
(26 June 2020)
The UK Government has set out a roadmap for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.
For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August clinical evidence.
Shielding and other advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory.
What are the changes?
Recently, the UK Government advised that you can spend time outdoors, if you wish, with your own household, or if you live alone with another household. Following this, and alongside current scientific and medical advice the UK Government is planning to relax shielding guidance in stages.
From 6 July, the guidance will change so you can meet in groups of up to six people from outside your household – outdoors with social distancing. For example, you might want to enjoy a summer BBQ outside at a friend’s house, but remember it is still important to maintain social distancing and you should not share items such as cups and plates. If you live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), you will be able to form a support bubble with another household.
From 1 August, you will no longer need to shield, and the advice will be that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue maintaining rigorous social distancing.
Why is the guidance changing now?
The roadmap has been developed in line with the latest scientific and medical advice and with the safety and welfare of those who are shielding in mind. Current statistics show that the rate of catching coronavirus in the community continues to decrease. On average less than 1 in 1,700 in our communities are estimated to have the virus, down from 1 in 500 four weeks ago.
Unless advised otherwise by your clinician, you are still in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category and should continue to follow the advice for that category, which can be found here.
We will monitor the virus continuously over coming months and if it spread too much, we may need to advise you to shield again.
Support offer explainer
If you are in receipt of Government provided food boxes and medicine deliveries, you will continue to receive this support until the end of July.
Local councils and volunteers are also providing support to people who are shielding, to enable them to stay safely in their homes. The government is funding local councils to continue to provide these services to those who need them until the end of July.
What support is available to people who are shielding until the end of July?
There are a number of ways that those who are shielding can access food and other essentials:
- Make use of the supermarket priority delivery slots that are available for this group. When a clinically extremely vulnerable person registers online as needing support with food, their data is shared with supermarkets. This means if they make an online order with a supermarket (as both a new or existing customer), they will be eligible for a priority slot.
- Use the many commercial options now available for accessing food, including telephone ordering, food box delivery, prepared meal delivery and other non-supermarket food delivery providers. A list has been shared with local authorities and charities.
- A free, standardised weekly parcel of food and household essentials. If you have registered for this support online before 17 July you will continue to receive weekly food box deliveries until the end of July.
- If you need urgent help and have no other means of support, contact your local council to find out what support services are available in their area.
- For anyone facing financial hardship, the government has made £63 million available to local councils in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials.
NHS Volunteer Responders
Support will continue to be available through the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme beyond the end of July.
NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with:
- Collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies;
- A regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who is also shielding and will stay in contact for several weeks; and
- Transport to medical appointment.
Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health case professional for transport support. A carer or family member can also do this on their behalf. More information is available at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk
Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell).
People in the clinically extremely vulnerable group should continue to access the NHS services they need during this time. This may be delivered in a different way or in a different place than they are used to, for example via an online consultation, but if they do need to go to hospital or attend another health facility for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place.
Mental health support
It is normal during these uncertain and unusual times to feel anxious or feel low.
Follow the advice that works for you in the guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you feel you need to talk to someone about your mental health or you are looking for more support for someone else, we would urge you to speak to a GP and seek out mental health support delivered by charities or the NHS.
Income and employment support
At this time, people who are shielding are advised not to go to work. This guidance remains advisory.
Those shielding will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on the basis of their shielding status until the 31 July. SSP eligibility criteria apply
From 1 August, if clinically extremely vulnerable people are unable to work from home but need to work, they can, as long as the business is COVID safe.
The Government is asking employers to work with them to ease the transition back to a more normal way of life for their shielding employees. It is important that this group continues to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role if required.
Where this is not possible, those who have been shielding should be provided with the safest onsite roles that enable them to maintain social distancing.
If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, they can continue to use the Job Retention Scheme for shielded employees who have already been furloughed.
What support will be available after July?
From 1 August, clinically extremely vulnerable people will continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots if you have registered online before 17 July for a priority delivery slot.
NHS Volunteer Responders will also continue to offer support to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.
The NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme has been expanded to offer a new Check in and Chat Plus role. This new role has been designed to provide peer support and companionship to people who are shielding as they adapt to a more normal way of life.
If you are vulnerable or at risk and need help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).
Government is committed to supporting local councils and voluntary sector organisations to respond to those who have specific support needs and requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Details of the support and advice available can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
The updated shielding guidance should not affect any social care or support you were receiving prior to the start of shielding.
Individuals should continue to contact their local council if they have any ongoing social care needs.
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire County Council have data on the NHS Shielding people and are sent daily lists of people who have registered, and whether they have requested food parcels.
The County Council contact these people to check if they have sufficient food to last them until their first NHS parcel arrives. If not, they will provide a parcel
sufficient for one week.
The NHS parcels have standard contents and are not tailored in any way. People who are unable to use any of the contents due to allergies, dietary or cultural issues, are advised to contact their local authority. Any parcels that have been delivered across the District are referred to the County Council who will then arrange for suitable supplementary goods to be supplied for the 12 week period.
Staffordshire County Council’s helpline also responds to other (non-NHS) vulnerable people who are self isolating – assessing needs and, if necessary, providing a food parcel to last one week. These cases are then referred to District and Borough Councils to pick up for further support.
Chase Community Vulnerability Hub - (led by the Council)
In Cannock Chase we have established a local Hub. This has a number of functions.
1. Statutory Response
As Cannock Chase Council has specific responsibilities for its housing tenants, homeless people and rough sleepers, at an early stage of the emergency response, we have been proactively contacting those most vulnerable tenants known to us, by telephoning and visiting them, providing food and other essentials.
We are providing similar support to our homeless individuals and families and have secured accommodation for local rough sleepers - as directed by government. We are providing food and other essentials for these most vulnerable people in the District.
Funding and food is being provided by the County Council to help with this.
2. Early Stage support
We have set up a response system for those people who contact us asking for support, or are referred to us by the County Council, where they are self isolating and don’t have support from family and friends. Cases are assessed on an individual basis so they can be advised where to get help. Key players in the local response are our voluntary and community organisations.
The Managing Director of Cannock Chase Council chairs a weekly teleconference with Support Staffordshire, Chase Coronavirus Support Network (CCSN) and the local foodbanks for them to raise issues and to address concerns. Examples of the actions taken through the local VCS are set out below.
Working in partnership with Chase Coronavirus Support Network
Those able to pay for their shopping or in need of pharmacy or social support, such as a telephone call, are referred to the Chase Coronavirus Support Network (CCSN), whose volunteers are able to assist; CCSN has secured a large number of volunteers. Some are trained to do pharmacy collections and deliveries and the network has links to all pharmacies in the District. Recently, volunteer staff from Inspiring healthy lifestyles, our leisure provider, have been added to the volunteer capacity of CCSN.
Working in partnership with local foodbanks
Those who don’t have money – for example if they are waiting for decisions on Universal Credit, or have simply run out of money – are referred to the local foodbanks in Cannock and Rugeley. These have seen a significant increase in demand for their services. Deliveries to homes are being made. Recently the Council has agreed to provide transport for bulk donation deliveries for the Cannock Foodbank.
Working with other partners groups across the District
If these are not suitable solutions, the hub has a limited stock of supplies which can be delivered to people. Our hub is here to complement the services already being provided by other organisations. Other organisations are also offering specialist support, or work with particular groups and we will refer people to these where that is appropriate. These organisations are identified by Support Staffordshire.
3. Proactive response
In order for support to reach local people likely to be most in need, we have looked through information we have on our most vulnerable local people. We have written to them to ask if they need any assistance. We have identified about 2,800 local households in these circumstances. Those that get back to us are being assessed and the appropriate support provided as highlighted above.
Last Updated: 26/06/2020