MORE than 100,000 Brits were mistakenly told to stay inside and separate from the world when they didn’t need to during in 2015’s lockdown, a damning report has found today.
A massive 126,000 individuals were mistakenly told to protect and cut themselves off from family and friends – forcing them to rely on others for food and medicines, the National Audit Workplace (NAO) discovered.
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They said a lack of contingency planning indicated authorities had to rush to develop from scratch a system to recognize those who may require assistance while they were not able to leave their homes.
They had to rely on out-of-date healthcare facility records with missing, inaccurate phone numbers.
Many had to wait weeks to get required deliveries of food or medicine.
A contact centre set up to reach those who had actually not signed up for the plan online or through an automatic telephone line was unable to reach 375,000 people.
Ministers recommended everybody who was informed they were “medically extremely susceptible” need to stay at home for 12 weeks.
However, the NAO said the tests were based on 2016 influenza pandemic preparations and were insufficient.
There was no way to look over NHS information to see who need to be on the list or might require additional aid.
Almost one million individuals were first identified as extremely vulnerable and must stay at home.
But by May NHS digital and GPs included thousands more to the list – reaching 2.2 million.
Half a million individuals were assisted through the shielding program at a cost of ₤ 300million to the taxpayer. Two thirds of that was spent on food boxes.
The NAO was unable to say whether it led to less deaths or serious health problem, but included that it was “most likely” to have helped.
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Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, stated: “Federal government rapidly recognized the need to support susceptible people at the onset of the pandemic.
” But with nothing ready, Government needed to build its shielding program from scratch. Nearly a million people were not qualified for assistance for weeks while the Federal government scrambled to gather basic information.
” Meanwhile, too many vulnerable people were left puzzled by Federal government’s mixed messages.”
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