Work continues to support shielding residents

From East Lothian Council’s Inform staff e-zine

Our efforts to support the shielded population in East Lothian are continuing. People at the highest clinical risk should they contract Coronavirus have been sent letters from the Government asking them to avoid all contact with others for 12 weeks. Many of them have local family and friends support to allow them to do this but a number will need extra help.

We have set up an East Lothian helpline which is staffed seven days a week. The number is 01875 824300. The email address publicinformation@eastlothian.gov.uk can also be used.

Contact centre staff have been dealing with a number of calls coming in. They are also making a large number of proactive outgoing calls to shielded people in East Lothian to make sure they are aware of the support available including food box and pharmacy deliveries. This work is also being carried out by other colleagues in customer services, social work and community housing teams. This week alone, the teams have dealt with more than one thousand incoming and outgoing calls and emails.

We have noted that a number of calls are not being answered and this may be because outgoing calls from the council do not show a number on mobiles and on landlines with a caller display function. We believe some people will not answer calls because of this. We will be putting messaging out this week to let shielded people know we are trying to get in touch. Of course, anyone answering a call from an unavailable number should always ensure the call is genuine. Council staff always say who they are and would never ask for personal details, especially financial information. Anyone shielding can also get in touch with us directly instead.

We have over 2,708 residents on the shielding list in East Lothian (c.2.6% of our population). The largest number per area is Musselburgh, which is home to 26% of our shielded population. 

The Government has also set up a national helpline on 0800 111 400, for those in ‘group 2’, that is people who are not shielding but may require extra help and include  those who have a disability, are receiving mental health support, have dementia, are over 70, pregnant woman and those who receive the flu vaccine for medical reasons.

The national helpline refers people in these groups back to the council for help.