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Local services begin deliveries for vulnerable residents in the north-east

By David Porter

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People in the north-east at highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus began to receive home deliveries of essential groceries on Friday.

Letters from the Scottish Government were issued last week to those who are at greatest risk from the virus, to offer guidance on shielding from infection and information about the support available, which includes access to home deliveries through a text message service.

Locals who have already signed up to the service have been texted with the option of starting their weekly deliveries of essential food items including soup, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee and biscuits, as well as toiletries such as shower gel and toilet roll.

Those in the high risk group who have received a letter but do not have access to a mobile phone will be able to register for deliveries by contacting Aberdeenshire Council at 0808 196 3384.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “The community spirit shown here in Aberdeenshire and across the north-east over the last few weeks has been absolutely amazing.

"I have been blown away by the number of people who have gotten in touch wanting to make a difference in their community.

"Many are already helping isolating neighbours by collecting shopping and medicines and running errands.

"It’s great to see.

“It is vital that as the spread of this virus continues we ensure those who are most at risk have access to the support they need when they need it.

“I would encourage any constituent who receives a letter from the Scottish Government, and requires support, to sign up to the service immediately to make sure they are fully stocked with essential items.

“We have to prioritise those most in need, and by continuing to work together we can ensure everyone in our community remains safe.”

The grocery delivery service will be led by Brakes and Bidfood.

The six categories of risk - as agreed by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers - are:

1. Solid organ transplant recipients.

2. People with specific cancers:

a. People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.

b. People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.

c. People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.

d. People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.

e. People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.

3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

6. People who are pregnant with significant congenital heart disease.

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