What the actual blazes is the Tory government trying to do now?
The apparently unilateral decision to axe people with serious medical conditions from the shielding list will undoubtedly have severe consequences.
(Although This Writer’s own contact who is on the shielding list only ever received one food parcel, in any event. It came unheralded and unlabelled and he had no idea what it was at first.)
People with cancer, liver disease or severe asthma have been dropped from the UK government’s coronavirus shielding list by text message before their doctors have been able to speak to them.
The decision to remove people with various health conditions from the shielding programme has caused upset. The text also informed people they would no longer qualify for government food parcels.
Many who received the messages last Friday believed they were fake. But the government has since confirmed the texts are correct and are official government communications.
Certain patients who have had a liver transplant, are on immunosuppressant medication, or have decompensated cirrhosis have also received texts. People with brittle asthma and those with other types of cancer were also told they were no longer getting additional help from the National Shielding Service.
Apparently, a government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable and all decisions about whether someone should shield are clinically led.
“In some cases health experts have advised that a patient no longer needs to shield themselves from coronavirus. Where this is the case, the person will be informed that they are not on the shielded patient list.
“Those advised that they no longer need to shield may still access forms of support including the NHS Volunteers network, and will retain their supermarket priority delivery slots.”
The claim is that the government had asked clinicians to review people’s records to ensure that only those who needed to shield were on the shielded patient list.
Apparently doctors should have written to explain the decisions that had been made, and the text was supposed to both confirm that support would end and direct patients to other forms of help.
Clearly, that hasn’t happened.
This looks like an attempt to save money by withdrawing support from vulnerable groups, who may then contract Covid-19 or die for other reasons.
With no advice on other forms of help, and no wherewithal to collect supplies (if they wisely ignore the government’s claims and continue to shield at home), what are these people going to do?
You can guess what the Tories want.
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