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Our response to the latest coronavirus advice

2nd Nov 2020

On Saturday 31 October 2020, the Government announced their plans for four weeks of national restrictions in England and gave new advice for those who are shielding. Here is our response.

Our Chief Executive, Gemma Peters, said: “Given the alarming rise in the infection rate, we welcome the guidance that clinically extremely vulnerable people in England should stay at home as much as possible and to not go to work. But the Government now needs to set out how it will support people to do this.

“The guidance seems to suggest that while people who are furloughed will get 80% of their salary, people who cannot work because they are vulnerable might only be eligible for statutory sick pay. This would be unfair and would leave many workers with blood cancer unable to pay their bills. The Government should urgently reassure people with blood cancer that they will be treated the same as people who are furloughed and so get 80% of their salary if they cannot work from home.

“The Government also needs to set out how it will support people with blood cancer get shopping and medicines delivered, and access support if they are experiencing isolation and loneliness. Chris Whitty has rightly pointed out that people who were shielding experienced significant mental health problems, but we would be concerned if this was used as a reason not to reintroduce shielding support services. It was these very support services that helped ensure the mental health toll was not worse, and it is vital they are not only reintroduced but improved upon.

“We need clear guidance on what people with blood cancer should do if they live with someone who cannot socially distance, for example because of their workplace or because they go to school. And the parents of children with blood cancer need to know if their child should keep going to school.

“The NHS also needs to set out how it will ensure everyone with blood cancer gets a letter advising them what they need to do. Last time, large numbers of people with blood cancer did not get one of these letters and, particularly if these letters are to act as proof of eligibility for services and for not being able to work, it must do better this time.”

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