This page is for general advice for people with neurological conditions and carers.
On Tuesday 5th January 2021, mainland Scotland moved from tier 4 to full lockdown with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes (e.g. food shopping, medical appointments, exercise).
The information published in November 2020 for non-shielding people with neurological conditions still holds. If you are considered to be clinically at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19 you will have received a letter from NHS Scotland, or you will have heard from your GP.
The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) sets out the following priority levels for people to get the vaccine based on clinical need:
- Older adults resident in a care home, and care home workers
- All those 80 years of age and over, and health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over, and those who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
- All those 65 years of age and over
- High-risk adults under 65 years of age, including people with certain neurological conditions and their carers
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
This means that if you have been asked to shield, you will receive the vaccine along with those aged 70 and over.
If you would normally qualify for an NHS flu jab because of your health condition, you should be vaccinated after those aged 65 and over. Unpaid carers should be vaccinated alongside the person they support. See more information on NHS Inform.
There are many neurological conditions, and there will be issues that are specific to certain conditions. Some of our member charities have suggested pages with advice and information for people with specific conditions.
We also recommend that you check with charities that work with people with your condition in order to get condition specific advice.
The Association of British Neurologists has also published guidance about COVID-19 and neurological conditions. This guidance is being updated regularly.
Advice for everyone in Scotland
The new guidance is for everyone to stay at home in mainland Scotland. By law, you can only leave your home and garden for an essential purpose. For guidance on what is considered to be an essential reason for leaving your home, click here. Schools are also closed other than to the children of key-workers, with home-schooling back in place. This will be reviewed at the end of January 2021.
Advice for people who are in the extremely clinically vulnerable (shielded) group
If you are in the clinical vulnerable (shielded) group, click here for the most recent guidance.
A helpline (0800 111 4000) has been set up for those at increased risk who don’t have a support network, such as family or existing community support. This helpline will continue to be available even though shielding is now paused. The helpline is there to help people to access practical support with practical issues like shopping, medicines delivery and contact details for local organisations from their local authority. It is initially open 9.00am - 5.00pm every day.
Scottish Government and other support
If you do not qualify for a free flu jab because of your health condition (or the person you support doesn't) the Scottish Government says you should contact Ready Scotland if you need practical support.
There is also a free Coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline for people without symptoms who want general information: 0800 028 2816 Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 8.00am - 10.00pm Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
Scottish Government has shared a very helpful summary of the support supermarkets in each area of Scotland can offer to people who need additional support.
Am I more likely to get coronavirus?
It depends on your condition. Most people with a neurological condition are not at a greater risk than anyone else of catching coronavirus.
If you live with other people, they do not have to self-isolate, but they should follow social distancing measures to protect you. These include:
- keeping 2 metres (3 steps) away from you with and sleeping in a different bed where possible
- using a separate bathroom from you. If you share a toilet and bathroom with others, it’s important that they are cleaned after use every time
- consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first
- do not share bath or hand towels
- avoid using the kitchen and eating with you - you should eat in your own room, if you can
- use a dishwasher if you have one. If not, wash up using your usual washing up liquid and warm water
- use a separate tea towel for drying crockery and cutlery
Everyone in your household should:
- regularly wash their hands
- avoid touching their face
- clean frequently touched surfaces
Am I more likely to develop complications?
Some groups of people have an increased risk of complications if they get coronavirus. These groups include everyone over 70, people who are pregnant, and some people with long term conditions.
The Scottish Government has specifically named some neurological conditions as placing people at a greater risk - specifically Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy. This is not an exhaustive list - the Scottish Government says that if you would normally qualify for an NHS flu vaccination because of your condition, you should consider that you are at greater risk.
The Scottish Government says that people who are at risk should be strict about social distancing.
Helpful tips to reduce unnecessary social contact
- use a telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
- if you need food or medicine, ask a friend, neighbour or delivery driver to bring them and leave them on your doorstep for you to collect.
- you can go outside for exercise. Keep a distance of around 2 metres (6 feet) between you and other people.
- keep connected with family, friends and your community through phone calls, online forums and social media.
What about my routine care and support?
Many people with a neurological condition require regular and ongoing support from NHS and/or social care professionals.
It is not clear how the outbreak will impact on routine NHS and social care support provision. We will update this as more information becomes available.
The Association for British Neurologists has published Guidance on Recommencing Neurology Services.
I care for someone with a neurological condition. What do I need to know?
It’s important for everyone in contact with someone with a neurological condition to follow Scottish Government and NHS Scotland advice, such as good hand hygiene and social distancing.
Here is basic hygiene advice:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, put the tissue in the bin immediately, and wash your hands afterwards.
- If you are unable to use a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands
For some people with neurological conditions, handwashing can be more difficult, and it's important to take extra care. Sandra Mackay, an Occupational Therapist based at Cerebral Palsy Scotland has developed this helpful guide to handwashing for people with neurological conditions.
Carers Scotland and the Carers’ Trust Scotland have been involved in creating this helpful guidance for carers, including your rights to support, and how to create a contingency plan in case you or someone else in your household becomes unwell.