A Victory For Disabled & Vulnerable People

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The Scottish Government’s Covid-19 guidance has been updated to allow visits to offer emotional support to a vulnerable person whose wellbeing is at risk, with specific mention of those who are isolated because of a disability or a caring responsibility.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney who had previously written to the First Minister on this issue, presented a motion to last week’s council meeting requesting the council seek clarity on whether emotional support to those facing isolation was permitted under current guidance or, if not, for this to be introduced. Steve received cross party support from all councillors last week.

He said, “This change appeared online with no official announcement over the past few days, listed under the permitted activities in all four covid management tiers”.

“To date, both UK & Scottish Governments have based support arrangements around ’social bubbles’ which work well for couples who do not live together and for informal childcare arrangements. Where they fail older people and vulnerable adults is that by forming a bubble with one elderly or vulnerable adult, you exclude doing so with others in your family and many families have more than one relative who lives alone and may be struggling. The other issue with bubbles is that we are told there’s no need for social distancing or face coverings and hugs are allowed. Where an individual in a bubble is vulnerable such an approach is of course potentially dangerous”.

“This clarity is absolutely not a green light to go into people’s homes. It is only permitted where the wellbeing of a vulnerable person living alone is considered to be at risk. Those providing support must follow the clear guidelines set out for carers who tend to people’s physical care needs. Hand hygiene and social distancing are at the heart of the guidance to keep those being visited safe”.

The full guidance can be located at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-4/ under the ‘Meeting others indoors (socialising)’ heading. The same guidance applies to the other protection levels.

Steve continued, “Charities, third sector organisations and individuals who have been highlighting the detrimental effect of loneliness and isolation on those who live alone and cannot get out and about for health reasons, should be congratulated as we see their hard work pay dividends to thousands of Scots”.