To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the ability of people who are shielding to access existing support for accessing (a) food, (b) medicines, (c) other essentials.
The Government has established an outbound call centre to proactively call people who have not yet registered to confirm their support needs. Up to 200,000 calls a day have been made at peak volumes. The shielding programme was set up at an unprecedented speed in March to help clinically extremely vulnerable individuals access support, including food, basic supplies and medicines. Anyone who has an NHS or GP letter advising them they need to shield, and has registered as having no other means of accessing food, has been eligible for a Government parcel containing food and essential supplies to be delivered to their home. For those who have requested support, we have delivered over 2.5 million food packages to those at highest risk across England, and an NHS Medicine Delivery Service is available from community pharmacies and dispensing doctors where family, friends or volunteers cannot collect prescriptions. In April alone community pharmacies provided over 400,000 free medicine deliveries to shielding individuals. Additionally, the Department works closely with local authorities so that they can also adequately support their shielding population.