A north-east MSP who was forced to shield due to Covid-19 has called for more support to help vulnerable people access essential items.
Conservative MSP Tom Mason said shielders are at high risk of long-term physical and mental health problems as a result of long spells of isolation.
Mr Mason, who is classed as high-risk because he suffers from Parkinson’s and Type 2 diabetes, urged the Scottish Government’s older people’s minister Christina McKelvie to listen to warnings from Age Scotland.
The charity said there had been “considerable challenges” for older people during last year’s initial lockdown.
In a virtual parliamentary debate, Mr Mason said: “Back in March, over-75s were asked to shield for four weeks, which quickly became eight weeks, then until the summer, and now well into spring.
“For those living alone, there will be issues with isolation and loneliness as face-to-face contact is again reduced.
“Now, Age Scotland is warning that another lockdown will be extremely difficult for older people to endure, and that a winter action plan will be needed to make sure they can access the food, medicines and treatments needed to get through these latest measures.”
In response, Ms McKelvie said: “We have made available £15 million to local authorities at protection level four to strengthen their local response and support the needs of people in their communities who do not have support networks in place and are struggling with the restrictions or guidance, particularly those most at risk through health or social inequalities.
“This could include people of higher clinical risk, older people or those who encounter barriers that emerge when it comes to accessing essential items.
“We can all help by continuing to look out for others.”