Calls for supermarkets to do more to help vulnerable

Pauline Finnerty from Downham Market said more needs to be done by supermarkets to put a plan in pla

Pauline Finnerty from Downham Market said more needs to be done by supermarkets to put a plan in place to help vulnerable citizens. Picture: Pauline Finnerty - Credit: Archant

A concerned family member has called for supermarkets to do more to help the vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak after her elderly in-laws struggled to get online food orders.

Pauline Finnerty from Downham Market said she is very concerned that vulnerable people are being “missed” and are unable to purchase what they need from supermarkets as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Finnerty contacted Morrisons to raise her concerns after her in-laws, who live in Thame in Oxfordshire and are both 86-years-old, were unable to get a delivery slot on the supermarket’s online delivery service until April 17 with nothing showing after that.

An email to Morrison’s online customer service said: “My mum is severely disabled and can’t be left alone and my dad has lung cancer and shouldn’t be going out.

“We live 100 miles away and are following government advice so are unable to go and visit them.

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“I am aware how difficult it is for supermarkets at this time and you and your staff are doing an amazing job, but can you let me know when something will be put in place to ensure elderly and vulnerable people will be given preferential slots to enable them to have groceries delivered?”

Mrs Finnerty was told that “Morrisons currently have no plans for priority slots for elderly and vulnerable people and the delivery slots will remain on a first come, first serve basis.”

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She has since said a system needs to be put in place to help those who cannot leave their houses because of self-isolation, age or disability.

Mrs Finnerty said: “Whilst I recognise demand is increasing than one could ever have planned for, both supermarkets and the government need to put a plan in place to help vulnerable citizens.

“It would be awful if they survived coronavirus but instead died of starvation or an illness made worse by lack of nutrition.”

It comes after Morrisons announced last week it would be introducing new measures to support its customers and help vulnerable people during the outbreak.

This included expanding home delivery and introducing more slots for customers through and the Morrisons Store on Amazon Prime Now.

David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons, said: “We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit.

“These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus.”

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