Letter to UK supermarkets

20 March 2020

Dear CEOs,

As you will know, fear and uncertainty over the impact of Covid-19 have led to widespread stockpiling and panic-buying of food supplies across the UK.

This week, you will have seen the heart-breaking footage of a distressed critical care nurse who, upon finishing her shift, was unable to buy basic food necessities. Sadly, her experience is far from unique.

All over the UK, health and care professionals are being faced with empty shelves and are unable to buy necessary supplies for their households and dependants.

On behalf of nursing staff and our members, we are writing to food retailers to take action and allow key workers to gain priority access to their store and goods.

We ask retailers to consider holding back an element of key perishables, life-long goods and other basic household items to ensure fair access and distribution.

We are aware that some shops have already introduced similar measures for the elderly and believe that health and care workers would also benefit from this.

In a recent letter, British Retail Consortium members urged the public to be considerate when shopping to ensure there is enough food for the country. We understand that supermarkets are not responsible for the behaviours of their customers – but we do believe retailers have the power to introduce measures to mitigate the impact on all nursing and healthcare workers.

Day and night our frontline staff work tirelessly to ensure the health and wellbeing of our country and we must do all that we can to support them in their efforts.

In times such as these, it is now more important than ever that we look after and support one another.

Yours sincerely,

The Royal College of Nursing

Page last updated - 13/07/2020