- First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the virus that haunts us all. Artwork by Gemma Woods Faser Picture by Bill Heaney
By Democrat reporter
National helpline established for those who do not have family or community support.
A new national helpline is being set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
The service – which opens tomorrow (Tuesday) – will offer help to those who do not have family or existing community support and cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons.
This service is in addition to localised support already available for people who have received letters advising them to shield themselves.
However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have family and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline.
Anyone not in these categories but still looking for support should visit readyscotland.org
The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will initially operate during core working hours of 09:00 to 17:00 while plans are developed and implemented to extend it to operate for a longer period each day.
FM Nicola Sturgeon said at her daily media conference that callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:
- essential food and medication
- links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
- emotional support
- contact with local volunteer groups.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell, pictured left, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is impacting all our lives but for some it is more than a disruption – it is a severe restriction on their ability to access food, medicine or other essential services.
“This national helpline will allow our most vulnerable, who do not have a network support group, to access the essential help they need.”
COSLA President Councillor Alison Evison said: “These are unprecedented times. Coronavirus is having an impact on all our daily lives – but for many without any support network it is even worse.
“This national helpline and support arrangements will provide reassurance to our most vulnerable citizens. It is there to support those who are at home with nobody around to help them and with no other way of seeking local assistance. It will allow them to immediately access the essential help they need.
“The approach to getting this helpline up and running has been multi-agency and I would like to thank not only Council Chief Executives and their staff for the work they have done, but our other partners, volunteers and the third sector too. I hope it gives many residents, struggling alone in very challenging situations, the reassurance they deserve at this incredibly difficult time.”