People in Edinburgh who are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus will begin to receive home deliveries of essential groceries today.

The Scottish Government wrote a letter this week to anyone who is at greatest risk from the virus. The letter offers guidance on shielding from infection as well as information about the support available. This includes access to home deliveries through a text message service.

Locals who have already signed up to the service have received a text message offering them the option of starting weekly deliveries of essential food items such as soup, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee and biscuits, and toiletries such as shower gel and toilet roll.

Anyone in the high risk group who has received a letter but do not have access to a mobile phone will be able to register for deliveries by contacting The City of Edinburgh Council through their contact page or 0131 200 2000 in an emergency.

People who have received the letter this week and 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, on Friday.

Other measures being put in place include:
·         Specialist medicines such as chemotherapy drugs delivered through local health boards
·         Local Resilience Partnerships working with Community Pharmacy to scale up deliveries of pharmacy medicines
·         Work with supermarkets to ensure priority delivery slots for people at high clinical risk
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:“These new services are available to those at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who do not have support structures around them to help. This includes people with specific forms of cancer, severe respiratory conditions, certain rare diseases, recipients of organ transplants, those on immunosuppression therapies and pregnant women with congenital heart disease.

 “Many people will have support from friends and family but I would encourage everyone who receives a letter and requires support to sign up to the service immediately – this will ensure you have adequate supplies of food and essential items during these challenging times. 

“It is vitally important that people at highest clinical risk are shielded as much as possible, and our advice alongside this text service will help protect people from the detrimental effects of the virus, including disruption to health and social care and key services.

“Our local services must prioritise those most in need and – by doing so – we will protect them, reduce the burden on the NHS and save lives. By continuing to work together, we can all play our part in keeping everyone safe.”

Ash Denham MSP welcomes the local initiatives. She said:“This is the greatest test we’ve faced in a lifetime and this scheme will ensure those most at risk from coronavirus get the support they need.
“The community spirit shown here in the Capital over the last few weeks has been absolutely amazing with friends, family and neighbours going that extra mile to look out for one another.
“But it’s hugely important that everyone who receives a letter, and requires this support, signs up to this 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.”