Isolation diary update: Isolating again

The view across London from Epsom Downs, with quarter of a rainbow

So lockdown comes to England again, but it doesn’t make much of a difference to us.  Ian has received an email from Matt Hancock reminding him that he is “clinically extremely vulnerable” – which is hardly news to him. It advises him to stay at home as much as possible but to go outside for exercise and to attend health appointments.

We have been doing exactly that for the last three weeks, impatient once again with the slow response by the Government to the widespread re-emergence of Covid-19. Back in the summer our local Council and hospital were preparing for a second wave in October, so it was hardly unexpected.

However, there are some crucial differences for us this time. In the first lockdown we literally did not leave our house, apart from a trip to the hospital, from mid-March to the end of June. Looking back that seems an extraordinary thing to have done. Actually, it didn’t feel like a hardship for us at the time – the weather was good and we have a small garden – although I appreciate that it was really tough for many people.

Since then we have been going out for walks almost every day, and, when we were allowed to drive a short distance, we started exploring many places we hadn’t been to before. It has been a revelation – we have found three beautiful lakes, riverside paths, ancient heathland, and many walks through the woods, all within three or four miles of our home.

This time we are being encouraged to go out for exercise, which does make sense as it feels a very safe thing to do. Other walkers are always careful when passing and we never stand within 2 metres of anyone else.

Ian hasn’t been in a shop since March and supermarket deliveries now work very smoothly. I have been out shopping a handful of times, mainly to pick up essentials like milk and eggs when they ran out, but I can always manage without, so won’t be doing that again for a while. Neither of us has used public transport since March.

The detailed guidance in the email states:

If you do need to receive care in person, you can. Your local NHS services are well prepared and will put in measures to keep you safe.

It is also really important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately.

Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs or those of a child or young person in your care can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

If you need any additional support to help you to follow this guidance, your local council may be able to help. You can contact your council and register for support at the Shielding Support website mentioned below.

You should also continue to access support from local charities and organisations, as well as NHS Volunteer Responders. As well as helping with shopping and medicines delivery, NHS Volunteer Responders can help with a regular, friendly phone call, and transport to and from medical appointments.

I am quoting this at length to emphasise the fact that many vulnerable people will still need help during this lockdown, as they did in the first one. They will not be receiving Government food boxes this time, so it is essential that everyone checks that their friends and neighbours are OK.

There is also a new online support service for clinically vulnerable people. Anyone who was registered before will continue to get help, but it is worth asking people you know whether they have registered, and maybe help them to do so if necessary. It also gives the links to the equivalent services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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4 Comments

  • As a transplant recipient nine years ago, I say ‘Amen’ to Mary’s comments. Agree with “it didn’t feel like a hardship for us at the time – the weather was good and we have a small garden – although I appreciate that it was really tough for many people”.

    The difference here is we’re not quite in full lockdown. Letters and text messages come from Gregor Smith, Scottish CMO and I’ll receive four months Vitamin D tablets courtesy of Nicola & Co. At the weekend we saw our two wee grandsons (rising 4 and 2), through their window, did a daft dance on the lawn to amuse them, and left a model Argentinosaurus at the door for Freddie’s fourth birthday next week. No hugs but lots of blown kisses through the window.

    Mary’s right, it is indeed tough for many, especially those on their own. I suggest Lib Dem Associations ring round members in this category regularly even if just for a moan about Boris, Dido and a grump about Trump.

    It’s no joy to reflect it was much tougher for Granddad (& Mum) ‘liberating’ wooden railway sleepers and scratting in slagheaps to keep the family warm in the 1926 Miners strike – and – losing two children to pneumonia. This weekend I’ll be thinking about Mum on her own wondering if Dad would survive 1944/45 in the RAF, and him up there on his own up wondering if he would. Somehow they did get through….. and so will we…. though there was, and will be, much heartache for many.

  • suzanne fletcher 6th Nov '20 - 2:14pm

    Thanks for posting, Mary. Can I add another bit of “public information”. Last time a friend and myself had texts/letter telling us we had to shield as we were very vulnerable. We were both neurotic about it, as we didn’t know we had such an illness and very worried that the NHS knew something about us that we didn’t ( and I had had some tests just before that so worried).
    The text arrived on a friday afternoon for me, Saturday was the friends letter. so of course we could not speak to our doctors till after the weekend.
    Both our doctors had no idea why we had the text/letter and told us both no reason to think we were anymore vulnerable than being over 70. friend had had cancer in 2005 and me in 1997.
    My friend rang me the other day, upset she had a letter from Matt Hancock telling her to shield again as she is very vulnerable. yet again her doctor has told her not to worry and to ignore it.
    So please people, don’t get scared if you have a letter and you don’t know why. Check with the doctor ( who must be thrilled at getting such calls).

  • neil sandison 7th Nov '20 - 2:52pm

    We should remember this is a shorter lockdown I hope but we will return to tiers . We have had some problems locally with hospital appointments booked across tiers moving shielded persons into higher tier areas increasing the risk of infection between tiers . I raised this concern with my local hospital ,trust CCG and local health watchdog body . They have now agreed that unless physical in person tests are required all appointments with consultants can be done by telephone ,on -line or by video call . much the same as GPs are currently offering .

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