The Welsh Government has published two impact assessments linked to shielding that show their thinking when they proposed these schemes earlier in the pandemic. One assessment summarises the effect of shielding on the group known as ‘extremely vulnerable’, and the second assessment focuses on the effects of the food box delivery scheme for shielded people.
The first impact assessment, on the effects of shielding, concludes that the most significant impact is positive, “with the creation of a robust system of governance that provides assurance that access to services and provisions continues for those who are identified as extremely vulnerable/shielding. There is a real risk to the health and well-being of isolated shielding individuals without this programme, as not providing priority access to food, medicines, social and other services could lead to people risking their health to leave their homes and shop and/or going without food, medicines and essentials.”
The second assessment also concludes that the most significant impact of the food box delivery scheme is positive, “with the creation of an infrastructure and methodology for ensuring that access to food can be provided to members of society that the Chief Medical Officer has asked to shield for the duration of the pandemic. There is a real risk of the loss of life to shielding individuals if they are unable to procure food supplies and need to leave their homes. The food box delivery scheme enables shielding people to remain safe.”
Both these impact assessments note that shielding and the food box scheme help to achieve the Welsh Government’s well-being objectives of creating a healthier, resilient and more equal Wales of cohesive communities, bringing together local communities through volunteers to support some of Wales’ more vulnerable citizens during the pandemic and providing vital services.
Welsh Government say that they will engage the public, volunteers, providers of pharmaceutical services, and providers of food parcel services for feedback on their experience of the delivery schemes.
Alongside the Learning Disability Consortium, we previously expressed a number of concerns around shielding in a letter to First Minister Mark Drakeford. One of our leading concerns was the risk to people with a learning disability when they do not receive correct information in a format that they understand. Read more in our article Shielding – how clear is it?
Read the impact assessments here: