Coronavirus: information and updates

Disabled people struggling to access supermarket deliveries as slots book up in Christmas rush

Scope, the disability equality charity, has today raised concerns that disabled people are struggling to get food and essentials during the second lockdown.

A survey carried out by Opinium on behalf of Scope found that:

  • 56% of disabled people said they had not been able to register for priority delivery slots
  • Almost 1 in 3 disabled people had to wait more than 2 weeks for a delivery slot
  • 11% of disabled people were waiting 4 weeks or more for a delivery slot

James Taylor, Executive Director of Strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said: 

“9 months since the pandemic began, it is unacceptable that disabled people are again struggling to get delivery slots to order food and essentials. Lessons should have been learned from the mistakes of the first lockdown – the needs of disabled people must not be forgotten.

Disabled people have been hit hardest by the pandemic, with two thirds of those who've died from coronavirus being disabled. Many are still shielding but now find themselves unable to book a supermarket slot for 2 weeks, if at all.

Getting food and essentials cannot wait. We are concerned that this situation will get worse over the next few weeks as the rush to book supermarket delivery slots increases over the festive season.

We need the supermarkets to step up and urgently make more slots available and make it simpler and easier for all disabled people to access them.

The government and local authorities need to make sure that disabled people have the right information about registering for priority slots so that they don’t have to risk their health to get food and essentials.”

Claire Thompson, 50 from Nottingham who has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, said:

“I do my shopping online because my condition means that I don’t have the strength in my legs to do the shop myself, which is frustrating in itself as I really rely on being able to order food online.”

“Fibromyalgia is a really misunderstood condition and, as it stands, I am not deemed to be ‘disabled enough’ to register as clinically vulnerable and gain priority access to supermarket slots. You just have to make do.

“During the first lockdown, I relied on my online shop for my food and essentials and had issues with nearly every order. Sometimes nearly everything I needed wasn’t available.”

“I found out that my supermarket would release more slots at 3am. As I wasn’t able to get priority access to slots. My condition caused me to wake up multiple times in the night – I shouldn’t have the stress of not being able to order food and essentials adding to this. And I shouldn’t be having to go online at 2:30am to be able to eat.

“It makes me feel useless. Life is frustrating enough. I am so independent and don’t like relying on others, so I feel annoyed with myself and then I feel frustrated that the service I’m relying on isn’t reliable.””

“I managed to book my slots up until 15 December by booking them in the middle of the night but I couldn’t get one for Christmas week so I don’t know what I’m going to do for that. I don’t want to be ringing my friends up a few days before Christmas asking for their help. They will be busy and have their own things going on.

“I know that we don’t know what the situation will be over Christmas and that everyone wants to plan ahead. But, as a loyal customer I’m just peeved that I can’t get a slot.”

Notes to Editors

All statistics from an online survey of 1,004 working age disabled adults carried out by Opinium on behalf of Scope, weighted to be nationally representative. 

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