Covid-19: Shielding / Very High Risk Patients

Updated Guidance for Shielded Patients – 7/7/20

What changed on 6 July

The government has made some changes to its guidance for people who are shielding because the transmission of COVID-19 in the community has gone down. The changes from 6 July are:

  • you no longer need to socially distance from people you live with
  • you may, if you wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing
  • in line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) in the general population, you may from this date, if you wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance
  • the government support offer has been extended: you can still get a food box, care and/or medicine delivery until 31 July if you want them, and have registered online by 17 July. If you have been recently advised to shield there is more information on the page below outlining on the support available to you below
  • the latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. All children and young people should continue to shield until 31 July. A clinical discussion with your paediatric specialist or GP will be needed before any child or young person is removed from the shielded patient list. Health services will be in touch with children and their families over the summer, ahead of the new school term, to discuss what the new evidence means for them personally in the longer term. Families, carers and young people do not need to make immediate contact

What will change from 1 August

From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.

This means:

  • the government will no longer be advising you to shield
  • the support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop
  • NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items to you if you need it
  • you will still be eligible for priority supermarket slots (if you have registered by 17 July)

You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible and in any case at least 1 metre with protective measures in place.

From 1 August, you’ll be advised you could go out to more places and see more people, for example, the advice is:

  • you can go to work, as long as the workplace is COVID-secure – but carry on working from home if you can
  • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can go back to school (when the rest of their class goes back)
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise – keeping 2 metres away wherever possible and in any case at least one metre with protective measures in place

Read further information on schools and the workplace for those living in households where people are shielding.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for adults, and children and young people aged 0 to 18 who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

For the latest guidance please visit the following sources:

GOV.UK – for the latest updates on shielding guidance from Public Health England, as well as information on the Government support offer for those on the Shielded Patients List (SPL).

NHS.UK – provides patient-facing information on health services and medical conditions.

NHS Volunteer Responders – the NHS is also providing further support to those at highest clinical risk via the GoodSam App and NHS Volunteer Responders. People who are shielding can request support from the NHS Volunteer Responders by calling 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm. This service will not replace any local voluntary referral schemes already established but will complement these.

Who are shielding patients

People most at risk from coronavirus are sometimes called “shielded” or “extremely vulnerable” people. This includes people who:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma •have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

If you feel you should be registered as a shielded patient please call 0800 028 8327 or register via website www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

Patients that fall into the “shielded” or “extremely vulnerable” category can expect the following support from the government:

  • Essential grocery supplies – a free, standardised weekly parcel of food and household essentials, as well as priority delivery slots with supermarkets (currently only available to those who are already registered with the supermarket in question);
  • Medicines – arrangements to have medicines delivered to people’s homes by local community pharmacies and dispensing doctors; and
  • Social contact and basic needs – for example, emotional or social support such as people to talk to on the phone or via a computer (If you need help looking after your mental health click here)