Kidney transplant patient ‘livid’ at not being able to use Sainsbury’s priority online shopping for vulnerable

A KIDNEY transplant patient has been left ‘absolutely livid’ after being told by Sainsbury’s he could not access priority online shopping as he was not on their vulnerable list.

By Neil Fatkin
Friday, 17th April 2020, 10:25 am
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 12:34 pm

Matthew Best, 44, from Farlington, had a kidney transplant in February 2019 after kidney disease resulted in him spending up to six days a week on dialysis. While the transplant was a success he is still dependent on immunosuppressant medication to prevent his body rejecting the organ.

Matthew said: ‘My immune system is similar to a very old person in that I’m susceptible to picking up infections which could make me a lot more ill than a person my age normally would.’

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Matthew Best, 44, who was not able to get priority shopping at Sainnsbury's despite having had a kidney transplant, alongside mother, Patricia Jones, 71, and step-father, Graham Jones, 70.

According to government guidance, people who ‘have had a solid organ transplant’ are top of the shielded list - those individuals categorised as extremely vulnerable and at ‘high risk of severe illness from coronavirus’.

As a high risk patient Matthew received a letter from the health secretary, Matt Hancock, which stated: ‘The safest course of action is for you to stay at home at all times and avoid all face to face contact for at least 12 weeks.’

Matthew said: ‘When I phoned Sainsbury’s they said I wasn’t on their vulnerable list even though I was registered with the government in early March and have received my letter.

‘I even spoke to my renal department who said they would email Sainsbury’s directly to confirm I’m on the shielded list.

‘When I suggested this to the lady on the phone she wouldn’t accept it and the phone eventually went dead.’

Since then, Matthew has been unable to get through on the call line and has been ‘risking’ going food shopping.

‘I’ve been to my local shop to get essentials as well as my local Sainsbury’s on a couple of occasions. I felt really nervous having to go out. I’ve a five-year-old daughter who has asthma and the last thing I want to do is get really ill,’ he said.

With his step-father, Graham Jones, 70, also on immunosuppressant medication for a rare form of rheumatoid arthritis, shopping trips have now been left to his mother, Patricia Jones, who at 71 is also classed as vulnerable.

Patricia said: ‘I’ve told Matthew I don’t want him going out any more as he’s at too great a risk. Even though I’m over 70, of the three of us, I’m the best bet to go shopping but I do feel anxious.’

The family have received a council food-box which contains non perishable goods and are currently on a list for Hampshire County Council’s volunteer food delivery service.

Matthew said: ‘I’m absolutely livid I didn’t get the help I needed and felt I wasn’t listened to. I realise a lot of people will be ringing up but not everyone has had a kidney transplant.

‘I’m just hoping we have enough food to keep us going until we get access to this volunteer service.’

Sainsbury’s, which was one of the first supermarkets to offer priority online shopping for vulnerable people, said it has prioritised thousands of vulnerable customers.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are working through the list of people who have registered with the government to say they are vulnerable and need help getting a food shop.

‘Since then we have been able to match 150,000 additional customers against our database and we are contacting them to arrange priority home delivery. We are also stepping up home delivery and Click & Collect services so we can continue to serve as many vulnerable people across the UK as we can.’

The supermarket has said it will look into Matthew’s case.

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