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New support line for patients during lockdown

By Mark Andrews | Coronavirus | Published:

A West Midland healthcare company has redeployed some of its staff to operate a free telephone support lines for vulnerable people suffering from loneliness during the lockdown.

Salts Healthcare has set up a telephone support service for people with stoma and continence conditions

Salts Healthcare has set up the new service to help people with stoma or continence issues, who are still required to self-isolate due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It is estimated that half a million people across the UK are affected by these conditions, the majority of them over the age of 70.

The Birmingham-based company, said that many of the staff manning the service would normally be out on the road.

It said the service was not about giving medical advice, as not all the staff were medically trained, but aimed to provide a friendly voice at the end of the telephone to talk about subjects ranging from gardening to baking or even the weather.

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The company, founded in Wolverhampton in 1701, said that as people started returning to work, the extra time that they had to help others would decrease.

Marketing manager Maria Holland said: “It’s difficult at the best of times to chat with people about a stoma or continence products and during this lockdown we have seen a specific need for this group.

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"Lockdown may be changing, many will lose some of their support network, but they must remain isolated. Stay Connected is simply an opportunity for people to combat loneliness having spent many weeks in lockdown and must remain so for more.

Oliver Eagle is one of the staff who will be monitoring the support line

"The subjects spoken about are varied from, of course, the weather to baking. The subjects don’t matter. If it helps combat loneliness then great, we are merely doing our bit during these unusual times.”

She added that many self-isolating people may have thought they had no-one to talk to in a crisis.

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"Loneliness can affect anyone," she said. "By giving people the chance to talk, we hope we can make the lockdown a little easier for those who feel cut off.”

The service is open to anyone with a stoma or continence condition, who can call the free telephone line on 0800 028 2144. Alternatively, they can register at saltsmedilink.co.uk

Friends and family service can also contact the service on a patients' behalf, with someone normally calling back within 49 hours.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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