Mary has been contacted by a number of constituents who have been having difficulties in securing a click and collect, or a delivery service, from the major supermarkets serving the City of Durham constituency.
As Durham has a high number of vulnerable and elderly people, Mary wrote to the major supermarkets to ask what steps they have already taken to identify and serve those most at need and to urge them to do more. In her letter, Mary wrote:
I am writing to highlight the concerns that many constituents have raised with me about the availability of both click and collect, and home delivery services from your company
County Durham, in which my constituency sits, is home to a significant number of elderly and vulnerable people, who are of course most at risk of suffering serious complications should they be exposed to the coronavirus. As a result, most are now following the Government advice to stay at home.
Indeed, within the City of Durham constituency, there are an estimated 13,239 residents who are over seventy, and County Durham as a whole is ranked 32 out of 317 on the 2019 Health Deprivation and Disability Index produced by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, meaning there are many more people with other medical conditions who require urgent need of these services.
While I appreciate that everyone is working as hard as possible during this crisis to ensure that those in need are supported, the difficulties in accessing food deliveries and collection services is being felt very keenly in the City of Durham. I would therefore be grateful if you could get back to me to let me know what actions you have already taken to identify vulnerable, elderly and at-risk customers, and what work has been undertaken to prioritise these customers.
Although the current circumstances undoubtedly represent an unprecedented challenge, I urge you to do everything possible to make sure that those genuinely in need are prioritised, and would encourage you to work with other stakeholders, including the local authority and health services in the area to identify who is in most pressing need of these services.
I look forward to your response.
The responses to these letters will be shared on Mary’s website once they have been received.