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Add MND to shielding list, government urged

 

MND Scotland says many people with the condition are missing out on vital support.

A charity is calling on the Scottish Government to classify all people with MND as “extremely vulnerable” during the coronavirus outbreak.

Currently, those with the condition are only included in this group if they have difficulties swallowing or breathing.

This means many people are missing out on vital support as they self-isolate during the lockdown, according to the charity MND Scotland.

Earlier this month, Northern Ireland took the step of deviating from UK guidance and including all people with MND on the country’s shielding list. MND Scotland is now urging the Scottish Government to take similar action.

Craig Stockton, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Many people affected by MND are extremely concerned about contracting Covid-19 and are doing all that they can to protect themselves. This includes, for many, self-isolating and not leaving their homes. They are aware that this is an onerous task, but it is one that they feel necessary to keep themselves safe.

“We welcome the fact that those with MND who have swallowing and breathing difficulties have been added to the list, however we are deeply concerned for those affected by MND who have not been included.

“We’re urging the Scottish Government to define everyone living with MND as being 'extremely vulnerable' as a matter of urgency, ensuring that those affected in Scotland have access to the vital support they may need during this worrying time.”

Colin Jones, from Aberdeenshire, was diagnosed with MND in 2016 and is at high risk of infection if he contracts Covid-19. Neither Colin nor his wife Shirley have gone further than their garden fence for five weeks for fear of contracting the disease.

Despite being advised by his GP to self-isolate for 12 weeks, Colin has not been added to the shielding list because he doesn’t meet the current criteria. This means he does not have access to services such as priority supermarket delivery slots, or emergency food and medicine parcels.

Colin, 63, said: “We're relying on our daughter Stephanie for food deliveries. However, she is already under enormous pressure, working full-time from home and looking after our 20-month-old granddaughter.

“I have managed to go through the local council for assistance in having my medications delivered. This has been a huge relief, but I don’t know if everyone with MND will have the same support locally.”

Colin is now backing the campaign to have all those with MND classified as extremely vulnerable. He said: “For me and the other sufferers of this devastating and crippling condition the future is dire. With the arrival of this pandemic it has just thrown our future as it was, into complete disarray. To then spend what time we have left scratching around to survive is beyond comprehension.

"I am also conscious of the additional burden that MND sufferers, already in a fragile state and not on the list will bring to the system, especially the NHS should they contract Covid-19, especially if they and their carers are forced to shorten their isolation in order to access basic necessities.”

 

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