BRIDGEND MP Jamie Wallis is backing a call from leading medical charities for better advice and guidance from Welsh Government for those who are shielding in Wales.
A letter has been sent to First Minister Mark Drakeford from a number of charities including Asthma UK, the British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, British Liver Trust and also Welsh based organisations like Carers Wales and the Bevan Foundation. This calls for him to clear up the confusion and anxiety being felt by those in the shielding group of residents following a change in the advice to them.
Welsh Conservative Dr Wallis said: “I share the concerns and frustration of these charities. I have received many e-mails from constituents who are among the 130,000 people in Wales who were told to stay in their homes for 12 weeks and not to go out for any purpose. Suddenly, with very little warning, Welsh Government eased those restrictions last week and has told them that they can go outside to exercise and can meet with people from another household outdoors whilst observing the social distancing rules.
“I know that this has caused a lot of confusion and distress to people who are now unsure of what they should do and what is safe for them to do. We must have clarity and Welsh Government needs to be transparent about the rationale behind their decision to change things.
“There has also been massive confusion in Wales about the sending out of shielding letters with thousands being sent to the wrong addresses. It is still unclear whether all those who should get the letters have actually had them. When a survey of those who are shielding was organised by two of these charities, only 37 per cent in Wales had received this letter compared to 48 per cent in the other UK nations. This is something that Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething needs to get a grip on urgently.”
The charities are asking Welsh Government to set up a stakeholder group which includes charities so that they can have some input into decisions and also better notice of any impending changes.
Dr Wallis added: “The greatest need at the moment is for clarity so that people know what changes are coming down the line and have the time to prepare for them.
“Even health care professionals were blindsided by the latest change. We must ensure that people get consistent advice from everyone in the health and social care sector who have all been properly consulted and briefed in advance of changes.”