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Managing food and medication

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What if I get challenged when supporting someone who is vulnerable?

You may find it helpful to carry a form of ID to prove your role in case you are challenged. This could be a Carer’s Allowance letter, GP/local authority documentation about your caring role, an NHS shielding letter or the blue badge of the person you care for. You could also take a phone photo as a record of any email that indicates your role. This could be an email from a GP or a notification of a relevant disability benefit award.

It may also be helpful to contact your local carers’ organisation to see if they run a carer card programme. You could browse our local directory as a starting point. It's worth checking if your local council also runs an ID card scheme for carers.

In Northern Ireland, a new ID card has been released for carers – see this page for more information.

Innovate iconTop adviser tip:
 "You may be able to order repeat prescriptions over the phone with your GP or via their website/app if they have an online facility. You can also order medication directly from the pharmacy if they offer this service."

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How can I continue to get support with essential deliveries of our medical and food supplies?

Pharmacies and food stores will continue to offer support to those who are most vulnerable. If you or someone you care for have been on the shielding list, you will retain access to priority delivery slots as well as NHS volunteer and local council or trust support. 

GP surgeries remain open, many offering telephone consultations as standard, and appointments by video app or in person if absolutely necessary. Find out more on the NHS website here

Do contact your local authority or local Health and Social Care Trust (in Northern Ireland) if you need further support in practical ways – they will be able to direct you to the most relevant services available in your area.

In England, the NHS Responder Scheme can continue to provide practical and emotional support. Call 0808 196 3646 to make a referral or seek support for yourself. 

In Scotland, call your local authority if you need urgent access to food after the shielding period ends on 31 July. You can call them directly or via the national helpline on 0800 111 4000.

In Wales after 16 August, priority slots for online supermarket shopping will remain in place. The prescriptions delivery service for those who have been shielding will also continue until the end of September. Contact your council if you have any concerns.

In Northern Ireland, you will continue to get support if needed after the 31 July. You will receive a letter if you have been told to shield with details about what changes are proposed and what help and support is available. For more information see You can also call the Covid-19 Community helpline on 0808 802 0020.

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Can I pick up medication for myself or on behalf of someone else from a pharmacy?

Pharmacies will be open but it is vital that you do not visit one if you or anyone in your household has a temperature or a new and continuous cough, even if mild. If you are well and can visit the pharmacy yourself, think about how you can help family, friends and neighbours who are self-isolating by collecting their medicines on their behalf (you may need to take ID with you and will need to know the name and address of the person you are collecting for).

Here are some other tips:

  • If you are self-isolating please ask family, friends or neighbours to arrange to pick up your medication for you. If you don’t have anyone who can collect your medicine, speak to your community pharmacy for advice about how they can help.
  • Ask your prescriber about the possibility of ordering repeat prescriptions online through electronic repeat dispensing.
  • Don't ring the pharmacy unless it's an emergency and ensure you don't order above and beyond what you need.
  • Put your contact details on prescriptions so pharmacies can let you know when your medicines are ready.
  • Please try to order your next prescription seven days before it is due, if possible, as pharmacies will be working very hard to meet demand.
  • Contact your pharmacy if you are at higher risk but can't find anyone to collect your prescription. They will be able to arrange a way for a certified volunteer to help.

 Innovate icon

 Top adviser tip: "Check when more medication may be needed and note down when you will need to reorder." 

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