Concern over online deliveries for shielded groups

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A cancer charity is urging the Scottish government and grocery stores to step up efforts to ensure the most vulnerable people in Scotland have access to online delivery slots.

Blood Cancer UK said delays in setting up a system “could cost lives”.

The Scottish government said it was working to ensure people were supported.

About 30,000 people in the most vulnerable “shielded” group have registered for priority deliveries.

In recent days supermarkets have been receiving batches of Scottish government data detailing those registering for the scheme.

Blood Cancer UK chief executive Gemma Peters said: “We fear that the time it is taking to give people at very high risk, priority for online deliveries could cost lives.

“We are now at the point where some people are being forced to choose between going hungry and making a trip to the supermarket that could be fatal if they pick up the coronavirus there.

“People with blood cancer are already scared about the virus and daunted by the prospect of spending so long without leaving their home. Not being able to get food is an extra worry they do not need.”

The system is running along different lines from that in England, where a single list of shielded people has been compiled, and the Scottish system has been slower to get started.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have begun offering delivery slots to some vulnerable customers, but of the five retailers involved in the scheme so far, most say few slots have been reserved.

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