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GP won't issue extremely vulnerable letter

(26 Posts)
HuntingAdvice Wed 15-Apr-20 10:18:30

Hi, I've nc for this as it's potentially outing and I'd like to be as specific as possible.

DM is almost 80 and has Bronchiectasis, in addition to managed asthma. According to the info here, she undoubtedly 'qualifies' as someone who is extremely vulnerable due to frequency of flare ups

She didn't receive an initial shielding letter, so after about a week of trying to get through to her GP, finally managed to speak to a different GP to the one she normally sees in the same practice. This GP said her condition was not serious enough and refused to issue the letter.

As you can imagine, we're desperately worried as mum is relying on neighbours for bread and milk, but can't really expect them to do whole shops for her. I'm aware of the various Facebook groups, but she's rural and that's not why I'm asking here anyway, for now! A letter would open up supermarket slots. She's stayed up until midnight to get Tesco but not managed it.

What's we're finding hard is the GP just wouldn't countenance considering mum. He's never seen mum at her worst and said he didn't need mum to quote websites at him when she calmly tried to explain why she felt she met the criteria.

Is there anything else we can do? She can't get hold of her regular GP and the practice aren't letting you 'request' specific GPs anyway (understandably they're stretched)

I know so many people are having a tough time and we're not trying to scam any systems, it's just as I said, there's no way she isn't one of those people. Is there anything else we can do?

OP’s posts: |
vinoelle Wed 15-Apr-20 10:30:16

Im sorry you're having a tough time. Im a GP... essentially its difficult for anyone to comment without specifically knowing your DMs medical history.

It depends on the severity of her bronchiectasis as to whether she will qualify - as you've said the criteria are on that website. If she has one of the following ADDITIONAL criteria for her bronchiectasis, she should be shielded. Her age and asthma (if well managed) actually wont effect it, nor will "just" having bronchiectasis. So it depends really if she has the additional criteria in that category or not.

If not then, despite being high risk, she wont qualify for a shielding letter. We are being inundated at the moment but people who dont qualify but are understandably scared, eg well controlled asthmatics, pregnant women. But it is supposed to be just for the very very high risk few. If she does qualify then she should get one - but my point is "just" having bronchiectasis, asthma and being 80 wont get you one alone.

Hoggleludo Wed 15-Apr-20 10:33:43

You don't need an official letter

Ring Sainsbury's. Or Tesco. Explain the situation. They can mark her as vulnerable.

Hoggleludo Wed 15-Apr-20 10:35:12

I'd rung Asda a while ago. Saying could I be put as vulnerable. Before the letters came out. I did the same with Sainsbury's. I had trouble with one of my accounts. So they opened up w new one and marked it as priority. I didn't have to explain or anything.

HuntingAdvice Wed 15-Apr-20 10:45:07

Thank you very much for the replies, I will try phoning.

@vinoelle I appreciate you explaining all of that, it makes sense and perhaps she isn't serious enough. From what I know, she has flare ups requiring antibiotics about four times a year, in each case she's unable to do anything for two - three weeks. Not bedridden, but basically can only sit on the sofa. Also requires daily physio exercises to keep her lungs clear. The BLF foundation website said if antibiotics were required 3x pa that was one of the criteria, plus what the link I posted earlier said, which is why we thought she'd be able to get help.

OP’s posts: |
FredaFox Wed 15-Apr-20 10:50:12

Tesco won’t do anything without the official letter, my mum has Parkinson’s, diabetes, copd and is housebound as her Parkinson’s has affected her mobility so she barely walks a few steps. She’s paid for Tesco delivery saver for 6 years since becoming housebound, Tesco’s hands are tied
I stay up till midnight every night in the hope of booking future shops for her
She could miss a week of shopping with her store cupboard bits but obviously it’s the fresh stuff
Her neighbours are also elderly and while they would get bread and milk I don’t want to rely on them

Bubblemonkey Wed 15-Apr-20 10:52:48

I had a similar situation - had been told via the phone to shield with my asthma after having another course of steroids prescribed. Ended up speaking to a private doctor who did a consultation & a letter for £40. Best money spent for a piece of mind.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Wed 15-Apr-20 10:57:39

I've got a shielding letter but still can't get a supermarket delivery slot so I wouldn't count on it. They just tell me that they have no more slots.

majesticallyawkward Wed 15-Apr-20 11:07:54

The letter doesn't guarantee slots, your time would be better spent trying other supermarkets, local shops, butchers, grocers or other stores (eg muscle foods, hello fresh, local distributors who normally supply cafes and take aways).

My DGM appears to fit the criteria but didn't get the letter - late 80s with heart and lung conditions, leukaemia and immunosuppressed. We've just been proactive, my mum does as much shopping as she can and anything else I arrange deliveries. This way we know she's got what she needs as the supermarket deliveries are so unreliable in both frequency and content.

MargotEmin Wed 15-Apr-20 11:10:45

You can still register on as extremely vulnerable, even if you don't have a letter (but it does ask you that when you sign up, not sure what inference they take from it).

namechangenumber2 Wed 15-Apr-20 11:14:15

My in laws didn't receive a letter - they're 80+ and my FIL has Parkinson's.

They normally get deliveries from Sainsbury's and had an email from them to say they'd been highlighted as vulnerable so got help with booking slots. I'm guessing this was because of their age.

So I'd get in touch with Sainsbury's?

Cacaca Wed 15-Apr-20 11:17:47

Does she have a Morrisons local to her? The stores where I am have a list of 45 essential items and you select from the list, phone them and they’ll deliver. This is designed for elderly/vulnerable people.

Insideout99 Wed 15-Apr-20 11:41:02

Op see if this helps

You can register for help with

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Wed 15-Apr-20 11:50:25


I've registered on that and have a shielding letter. Still can't get a delivery because supermarkets claim they have none to give.

HappyDinosaur Wed 15-Apr-20 11:56:21

I mentioned on another thread but if you have the Tesco app keep checking through the day as I've had slots appear randomly during the day, not just midnight. Could you order her an M&S or Morrisons box? Also, not ideal, but I ordered I hamper online for my mum. I know this isn't helpful letter wise, sorry, but things to maybe try.

Didkdt Wed 15-Apr-20 12:05:19

Your best bet is to sort it out without the letter.
Amazon Fresh and Prime Now deliver food just keep checking for slots. They do go quite rural.
Tesco's agree with PP check for slots during the day or call them
Morrisons call them or try and get a slot they seem to get them regularly.
Local veg and dairy boxes lots of wholesalers are now delivering to the public
Milk and More
Morrisons food boxes
M&S Food boxes
Deliveroo and uber Eats can organize grocery delivery
Her local farm shop may deliver.

Quite a few of us have the letter and can't get slots we've had to look at lots of different avenues.

LangClegsInSpace Wed 15-Apr-20 12:12:13

It's worth checking your local authority website as well. Many are operating community hubs where she could register for help.

HuntingAdvice Wed 15-Apr-20 12:14:26

Thanks for all of the tips on supermarkets. Lots of great ideas. We focussed on Tesco as she's had deliveries from them previously and I know Sainsbury's and Ocado are only supplying existing customers. I'll look at the Morrison's boxes. Unfortunately she's too rural for any local independents to deliver. I have spent days trawling Facebook sites but not found any. It's so frustrating when the local town sites are full of people delivering anything from cupcakes to kebabs and burgers and she just wants some basics! (But that's a whole other topic!)

She did register on the gov website but received a letter to say they didn't have enough info and she had to contact her GP, hence the phone call.

I really appreciate all of the supportive ideas, thank you. I feel bloody useless as I'm the other side of the country.

OP’s posts: |
cologne4711 Wed 15-Apr-20 12:32:06

Milk & More aren't taking new customers though they might make exceptions for vulnerable people. Worth a try.

FredaFox Wed 15-Apr-20 12:37:21

I registered my mum on the gov website, a week or so later I got a text and email saying they can’t go anything and refer to gp who might confirm her eligibility but of course I’ve not got through yet
I’m going to stay at my mums I think, can’t risk her not getting food or medication. She can’t leave the house at all
Hope you sort something op

HuntingAdvice Wed 15-Apr-20 12:37:26

Thanks, actually she does have Milk and More deliver, but they aren't coping with the increased demand for milk and can't deliver anything additional like bread, eggs etc so have sadly proven completely unreliable, which is such a shame. It's has been poor for a couple of weeks and fell apart over Easter.

OP’s posts: |
Dinosauratemydaffodils Wed 15-Apr-20 12:41:21

It might be worth trying her local church as well. Our Minister is doing pharmacy runs and shopping for the vulnerable half the village regardless of whether they are church goers or not.

BoreOfWhabylon Wed 15-Apr-20 12:43:24

Morrison's has set up a new service for older/disabled/self-isolating.

Details in OP of this thread

I rang the number yesterday - they are lovely and I'm sure they will be able to help.

ilovemydogandMrObama Wed 15-Apr-20 12:53:37

If the issue is trying to ensure that she has priority or food deliveries, it may be worth looking at independent sector.

At least here in Bristol, there are several co operatives with the previous suppliers of restaurants, cafes etc, delivering to people's homes

There may be similar scheme where your mum lives?

Poppi89 Wed 15-Apr-20 13:51:31

Morrison's has set up a new service for older/disabled/self-isolating.

This sounds like a great idea.

I know it's only a temporary solution but if she has a tesco near her could she do a click and collect and then get a taxi or neighbour to bring the shopping to her door?

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