THE value of local newspaper like the Oxford Mail during the coronavirus crisis has been championed by health campaigners.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire – the county's public health watchdog – has urged all agencies trying to help people to heed the importance of 'trustworthy, accurate and up-to-date information'.

The group has made its plea as part of a bid to highlight the danger of so-called 'digital exclusion' – all those people who do not use the internet.

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In a statement, it said: "With Oxfordshire’s residents on ‘lockdown’ during the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring that they have access to trustworthy, accurate and up-to-date information on health and care support is essential.

"Healthwatch Oxfordshire is concerned that there are many in the community who will not be able to access information and support through social media or internet.

"We have found that ‘digital exclusion’ where people do not have this access, is often reported to us by older and more vulnerable people, such as those with mental ill health, or on low incomes."

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It concluded: "It is essential that support services make every effort to ensure that health inequalities are not widened during this time, and that people are able to find information in other ways - for example using local telephone information lines, local newspapers, radio and television."

Healthwatch is also available for information from Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm on 01865 520 520.

Do you know someone who would like to get free home delivery of the Oxford Mail every day? If so, call free on 01865 425282.