Coronavirus: Thousands of letters to vulnerable people in Wales go to wrong addresses

15 April 2020, 06:27 | Updated: 15 April 2020, 09:26

More than 75,000 people in Wales should have received the letter
More than 75,000 people in Wales should have received the letter [File Photo]. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

More than ten thousand people with underlying health conditions in Wales failed to receive a letter warning them to stay at home after they were sent to the wrong address.

Reports suggest 13,000 letters from the Chief Medical Officer of Wales were sent to the wrong address and instead sent to the intended recipients previous address.

Around 75,000 people in Wales are considered to be at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus and were advised in the letter to stay at home for 12 weeks.

While some general letters were sent to every household in the nation, those who are considered vulnerable were sent separate mailings.

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The letter also contains advice and guidance, including how to obtain support and access essentials such as medication and other items like food.

The intended recipients should have received the letters by April 3.

Those eligible for the letter also qualify for priority delivery slots from supermarkets.

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Plaid Cymru's local government spokeswoman Delyth Jewell said: "This is a potentially disastrous mistake which could needlessly endanger lives."

She called for details of "what went wrong for this to happen in the first place".

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "Due to a processing error within the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), some shielding letters were posted to a previous address, where the intended recipient had recently moved.

"All letters have since been reissued to the correct addresses.

"We provided all local authorities with the correct details from the start of this process, and they have been directly contacting each person involved over the past two weeks."

She added: "We fully understand the concern this would have caused people and sincerely apologise for the mistake."

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