Borders rugby legend Doddie calls for MND patients to be included on coronavirus vulnerable list

Rugby legend Doddie Weir is calling for those with motor neurone disease to be given vulnerable person status to help keep them safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

The former Scotland international, diagnosed with the disease at the end of 2016, believes sufferers should automatically be added to the high risk list, for those deemed especially vulnerable to the virus, in order to help them stay alive as long as possible.

Doddie, 49, of Blainslie, shared his plea via Twitter to UK Government health secretary Matt Hancock.

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He said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank you, your team and all at the NHS and everyone else involved in trying to fight the coronavirus.

MND is a terminal illness with horrific short and long-term issues.

“I need your help. So I ask you...why is MND not on the very vulnerable persons list?

“Would it be possible for you and your team to work with the MND Association and MND Scotland to change this?

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People with MND have a hard life in itself never mind trying to fight the coronavirus.

“Please help us stay alive as long as possible. Thank you.”

Vulnerable people with certain underlying medical conditions, including certain forms of cancer or respiratory problems, are considered most at risk of severe illness if they catch Covid-19.

They have been sent letters from the government asking them asked to stay at home for 12 weeks and minimise face-to-face contact with other members of their household in order to shield themselves from the virus.

They are also being offered a weekly delivery of basic groceries and medication, as well as other support services.

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But people with MND are not automatically included in this group.

Currently whether MND patients are included in these measures depends on their individual circumstances, with patients being considered on a case-by-case basis by their medical teams.

Since Doddie went public with his diagnosis on world MND Day during June 2017, in an effort to raise awareness of the condition, he has become a high-profile campaigner for the MND Association.

He was given an Order of the British Empire by the Queen last July, and in December received the Helen Rollason Award for his service to charity at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

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His plea to speed up the issuing of disabled parking badges to motor neurone disease sufferers made it into the hands of Scottish Government ministers last year too.

The former Melrose and Newcastle Falcons star’s charity, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, also handed out more than £300,000 worth of care grants, helping 250 people.