McGrath Asks For Clarification Over Shielding

McGrath calls for clarity for those shielding.

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McGrath calls for clarity for those shielding.   

SDLP Health Spokesperson, Colin McGrath MLA has written to Health Minister, Robin Swann, asking him to provide some clarity for those in the shielding category.   

The South Down MLA said: “Nobody should be in any doubt that all of our health service, including Minister Swann, are working tirelessly to save lives and fight back against COVID-19. However, it is unfortunate that some of the time, information and guidance is slow to be shared and updated and can be confusing or vague.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath.

“The vast majority of people are seeking to comply but are experiencing confusion as they do not know what they are permitted to do.

“I am particularly concerned about the most vulnerable group in our society, those who are shielding for 12 weeks, following a letter from their GP.

“These people are primarily older people but also those with health conditions. While I understand entirely the need for these people to be extra cautious, we must also be aware of the mental health implications of spending so much time inside. Many of those people have contacted me and they are feeling isolated and struggling to cope.

“For many of these people, their 12 weeks of shielding will come to an end in a matter of weeks and they must be contacted and updated. I have asked the Health Minister to ensure all of those who received a letter from their GP to be contacted again with some updated information. This is essential. It is unfair to leave it up to them to decide what they can do. They need advice based on medical evidence.

“We must also look at examples of best practice across the world and find solutions, innovative ways in which we can ease the lockdown in some way for these most vulnerable people.

“The rest of us have been enjoying some limited freedoms over the last couple of weeks. Those shielding deserve the same.”