PEOPLE who received free food parcels during the pandemic were more likely to go out for groceries, according an evaluation of the shielding programme. 

A survey Public Health Scotland found that 20% of shielders who had received the package had left their home to go food shopping compared to 14% of those who had not received the packages. 

PHS said: "This can possibly be explained by two findings.

"Firstly, respondents who have received free food boxes are more likely to live on their own.

"Secondly, they are less likely to have received a priority online slot for supermarket home delivery. 

"This means that respondents who have received free food boxes are less likely to have access to other routes to get food."

HeraldScotland: Source: PHSSource: PHS

The survey, which gathered responses from a total of 12,851 people - covering 7% of the shielding population - also found that older Scots and those with severe respiratory illnesses were most likely to adhere completely to the guidance on shielding, including not leaving their homes, not having visitors, and distancing from people within their own household. 

HeraldScotland:

HeraldScotland: Source: PHSSource: PHS

The report also highlighted significant differences in the experience of shielding depending on levels of affluence. 

Overall, a third (33%) of respondents said they broke the guidance by leaving home.

However, better-off shielders were more likely to break guidance but "more likely to cope" than more deprived shielders, who were more likely to stick to guidance.

HeraldScotland: PHSPHS

HeraldScotland: Source: PHSSource: PHS

Those who were unemployed or not working due to a long-term condition were the most likely to have found shielding a "very negative" experience, compared to fewer than 10% of retired Scots.

Similarly, those who would have "no problem" finding £100 were very unlikely to say that shielding had had an adverse impact on their mental health compared to more than 40% of those for whom it would be "impossible" to raise that amount of money.