Our focus throughout has been to protect people across Scotland, including people in Glasgow, in James Kelly’s region.
We have a wide range of advice, information and resources available through our Ready Scotland website on how people can stay safe, get help and give help to others during the coronavirus pandemic, and we have provided mental health advice through our Clear Your Head campaign, as well as specific advice on keeping people safe via the FACTS campaign.
People who require to self-isolate have access to information and support via the national helpline, which is connected to local authorities, and wider funding of £350 million has been provided to support work directly in communities.
Vaccinations—which bring us all a bit of hope—are now being rolled out for residents in care homes, older adults and their carers; people over the age of 80 and front-line health and social care workers remain a top priority.
I am very concerned about the loneliness situation among pensioners in Glasgow. Many pensioners are cut off from their families and are unable to leave their homes, and they do not have access to their normal support networks, such as local pensioners clubs. For some pensioners, that has resulted in a desperate situation, where they are suffering from not only loneliness but depression.
What action has been taken to identify older people who are potentially in that vulnerable situation and what action has been taken to follow up on that?
That is an important question. We know about all the groups and the organisations that we are involved in, but we need to make contact with people who may not be involved in those groups and organisations. That is why a lot of our media campaigns and the work that we do are around ensuring that people get the right information and the support that they need.
We need everybody to pass on that information about support. If James Kelly has particular constituents who need that information, we would be happy to provide that. Loneliness is an incredibly serious issue.
We have funded the older people’s strategic action forum to go online and to be digital, to make and sustain those connections and carry people through the pandemic. Many aspects of the work that the forum has been doing help to make those connections and identify those people.
The most important aspect is to identify the people who need that support, especially if they do not have support structures. Many of the groups are doing just that. I get intelligence almost weekly about the people whom they are now contacting and the areas that we may need to focus on.
We are always moving and we are always refining and updating the work that we are doing. However, if there is anything specific in Mr Kelly’s constituency that he thinks we should be focusing on, I would be happy to hear about it, because we all have a responsibility to make sure that we work together on the issue.