Photo: Display of healthy food

Getting help with shopping and prescriptions during lockdown

If you or the person you care for with MS is shielding or self-isolating, there's a few ways to get help with shopping and collecting prescriptions. Some of the support is available for anyone affected by lockdown.

We updated this page on Monday 22 June 2020

If you're shielding

If you’re in the extremely vulnerable or high risk category, you should have had a letter from the NHS telling you to practice shielding (self-isolating at home). It will also tell you how to get help with food, shopping deliveries and any care you need.

In England, you can register yourself or a loved one for the high risk list.

In England, if you’ve become ‘extremely vulnerable’ recently and haven’t yet registered on the government website for support, you need to do so before 17 July in order to access a priority supermarket delivery. But some councils are also able to help you access priority food deliveries, so it is worth contacting them even after 17 July.

Anyone with MS can also call the Royal Voluntary Service to get help from NHS volunteers with shopping and collecting prescriptions: 0808 196 3646

In Scotland you can register for help on the SMS shielding service.

In Northern Ireland you can register on NIDirect for priority online food delivery from Asda, Iceland, Sainsbury's or Tesco.

Whether or not you’re shielding

Across the UK, the COVID-19 Mutual Aid website has a list of local groups that might be able to offer practical help with shopping or friendship.

You can also find out what your local council can do to support you on the UK government website.

In England, anyone with MS can call the Royal Voluntary Service to get help from NHS volunteers with shopping and collecting prescriptions: 0808 196 3646

If you live in Scotland, you can use the Viral Kindness website to find help in your local community including with food shopping and deliveries. Or the Scottish government helpline for people at risk who find it hard to get online: 0800 111 4000

In Northern Ireland, contact the COVID-19 Community Helpline for information and guidance from Advice NI.

In Wales you can get help from local voluntary organisations.

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Supermarket priority shopping times and deliveries

Some major supermarkets have introduced priority shopping hours in stores for vulnerable people. Everyone with MS is included on the list of ‘clinically vulnerable’.

Supermarkets have also introduced priority booking online for vulnerable customers trying to book a home delivery. If you live in England or Scotland, are in the high risk group and already registered with a supermarket, you should have had a letter from them. In Northern Ireland, you can self-register for a priority slot.

We’re waiting to hear what the situation will be for people in Wales.

We know supermarkets are experiencing extremely high demand and not everyone with MS has been able to get a delivery. We've made UK governments aware of the problem and we’re working to make sure they improve things as quickly as possible.

If you’re finding it hard to order food boxes, ready meals or essential groceries, get in touch with our MS Helpline team who might have suggestions for your area.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has a list of companies who can deliver groceries, ready meals and recipe boxes. The list shows whether they take orders by phone, online, or both. Find a food delivery company with the DEFRA list

Remember you're not alone

We're here for you. If you’re worried about your MS and coronavirus and want to chat to someone, call our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000. We’re here Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm except bank holidays.

You can also sign up to our new Keep in Touch service, for a weekly catch up call with one of our friendly volunteers.

If you'd like to talk your worries through online with other people who know MS, visit our Online Community Forum today.

You can join one of our Time to Chat or Virtual Wellbeing sessions and connect online with other people living with MS across the UK. Or you could sign up for an information webinar. We've got plenty to choose from, take a look at our online sessions and see what suits you.

We updated this page on Monday 22 June 2020

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