Skip to main content

New shielding advice Thursday 05 November

The Government has published new advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable for keeping safe in the new lockdown which came into play at 12am today.

If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times except for exercising and doctors’ appointments. You are strongly advised not to go to any shops or to pharmacies.

You are encouraged to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example, one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you. If none of these are available, contact your pharmacy to inform them you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered. They will arrange this free of charge.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange to have a test. You may wish to request a home test to be sent to you or consider attending a test site at a quieter time.

You should continue to seek support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.

You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. To find out more, visit NHS Health at Home or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

Any carers or visitors who support you, or a child or young person in your care, with everyday needs, can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

You should also continue to access support from local charities, organisations and NHS Volunteer Responders. As well as helping with shopping and medicines delivery, NHS Volunteer Responders can help with a regular, friendly phone call and transport to and from medical appointments.

Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders.

Try to keep all contact with others to a minimum and avoid busy areas. Whenever you go out, continue to maintain strict social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

You should also try to stay two metres away from other people within your household, especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate.

You can exercise with those you live with or in your support bubble. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work. You may be eligible for statutory sick pay, employment and support allowance, universal credit or the coronavirus job retention scheme during this period of national measures.

The formal shielding notification you receive may act as evidence for your employer or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that you are advised to follow shielding guidance and should not work outside of your home for the period stated in the letter.

If you were on payroll before 30 October 2020, you may also be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (on furlough), which is being extended until 2 December. Speak to your employer if you think you are eligible.

Other people you live with who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves can still attend work if they cannot work from home, in line with the wider rules set out in the new national restrictions from 5 November.

People who are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. There are two ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:

You have one or more of the conditions listed below, or

Your hospital clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded patients list because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at higher risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.

If you do not fall into either of these categories and have not been informed that you are on the Shielded patients list, follow the new national restrictions from 5 November.

If you think there are good clinical reasons why you should be added to the Shielded Patient List, discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

Adults with the following conditions are automatically deemed clinically extremely vulnerable

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • those with specific cancers
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • those with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • those with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • those on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • adults with Down’s syndrome
  • adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
  • women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
  • other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions