Fill out a simple online form to get advice and treatment by the end of the next working day.

Shielding and Letters

What is shielding?

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. The government and NHS England are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.

Who should be shielding?

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients.
  2. People 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 which 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
  3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD*
  4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
  5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

* patients with severe asthma or severe COPD are patients who have poorly-controlled asthma or COPD or who are on very strong treatments that most asthma or COPD patients would not be on. These patients tend to have had multiple admissions to hospital with exacerbations of their asthma or COPD, have had multiple courses of high dose steroid tablets (not inhalers), and are on very high doses of combination inhalers. Most patients with asthma or COPD do not have severe asthma or COPD and so will not need to be shielding. The severity is based on clinical grounds and the majority of our patients with breathing problems will not need to shield.

I have been told to shield. Does that mean I can’t go out?

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus.

You must stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change.

You must not to go out at all for this period of time unless it is an emergency or you have been advised by a medical professional or the emergency services to do so.

I think I should be shielding but no-one has told me to. What do I do?

If you think you should be shielding, you must act as though you have been told to shield.

If you feel you are highly vulnerable, you must register at the UK government website here. Once you have registered, you can use the confirmation page as proof of your registration. You will receive a letter from the government confirming this status but it will take some time to be processed as there will be many people registering this way. It may be that after you have registered, you do not fulfil any of the criteria (see above) for shielding- you will not receive a letter in this case and you will be advised you do not have to shield and so you can leave your house.

If when you go to the website you are told you are not eligible for shielding, and you feel that you are extremely vulnerable and so must be shielding at home for 12 weeks and not leaving the house, please contact your GP for further advice.

I am shielding. Does that mean no-one can come and see me?

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus.

Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). All people coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

You should have an alternative list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell. You can also contact your local council for advice on how to access care.

I live with someone who is shielding. Can I go out?

If you are living with someone who is shielding, you are not required to adopt these protective shielding measures for yourself. You should do everything you can to support the person you live with who is in shielding and you should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing your contact outside the home. If you care for but don’t actually live with someone who is extremely vulnerable, you should still stringently follow guidance on social distancing.

I have been told to shield. I don’t agree with this and don’t think I need to. Can I ignore this advice?

Shielding is for your personal protection. It is your choice to decide whether to follow the measures the government and NHS England advise. This will be a deeply personal decision and you need to be aware of the risks to you and the impact on your family if you choose not to shield.

I have not had a letter but I think I should be shielding. What do I do?

If you think you should be shielding, you must act as though you have been told to shield.

If you feel you are highly vulnerable, you must register at the UK government website here. Once you have registered, you can use the confirmation page as proof of your registration. You will receive a letter from the government confirming this status but it will take some time to be processed as there will be many people registering this way. It may be that after you have registered, you do not fulfil any of the criteria (see above) for shielding- you will not receive a letter in this case and you will be advised you do not have to shield and so you can leave your house.

If when you go to the website you are told you are not eligible for shielding, and you feel that you are extremely vulnerable and so must be shielding at home for 12 weeks and not leaving the house, please contact your GP for further advice.

My work has told me to shield. What do I do?

If your work has told you to shield, we advise you to register at the UK government website here. Once you have registered, you can use the confirmation page as proof of your registration. You will receive a letter from the government confirming this status but it will take some time to be processed as there will be many people registering this way. It may be that after you have registered, you do not fulfil any of the criteria (see above) for shielding- you will not receive a letter in this case and you will be advised you do not have to shield and so you can leave your house.

If when you go to the website you are told you are not eligible for shielding, and you feel that you are extremely vulnerable and so must be shielding at home for 12 weeks and not leaving the house, please contact your GP for further advice.

If you do not feel you should be shielding, and your GP or hospital consultant has not told you to shield, you must speak to your manager at work.

I am not in the high risk vulnerable group. What group am I in?

Patients are at moderate risk of developing complications from coronavirus (COVID-19) where:

  • they meet the criteria that make them eligible for the annual flu vaccination (except those aged 65 to 69 year old inclusive who have no other qualifying conditions)
  • and they do not meet the CMO criteria for the high risk group for COVID-19

This includes the following patient groups:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (for adults this is usually anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • those with a weakened immune system caused by a medical condition or medications such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
    • being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
    • those who are pregnant

If you are in the moderate risk group, you do not have to shield and you are allowed to leave your house. You do not need, and will not receive, a shielding letter.

I am not eligible for the high-risk vulnerable category and so am not able to access the extra support available. What can I do to get assistance? I have no family, neighbours or friends to help me.

In this scenario, there are local services that can help.

BCP Council – Phone 0300 123 7052 or complete the online form

Dorset Council – Phone: 01305 221000 or email [email protected]

Ferndown Community Coronavirus Support – Phone 01202 936121

As we are made aware of other support services, we will update them here.

Further advice on shielding is available here on the government website.

I am shielding and am glad to hear that lockdown restrictions are easing. It is hard shielding. I can now go out and about right?

The UK Government has been quite clear on this question- “we’ve advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

Therefore if you have been advised to shield, or you requested to be in the shielding category and subsequently had this confirmed by a doctor or the Government, you must continue to shield until at least the end of June. At this stage, it is expected further advice will be issued by the Government.

Advice on shielding is available here at the UK Government website.

I am shielding. What happens at the end of shielding?

At this moment in time, it is too early to say. We are expecting the Government to make a decision and an announcement much closer to the end of the initial shielding date as to what they advise those who have been shielding to do next. This may be a continuation of shielding, this may be a release from shielding, this may be a partial release. At this stage, we do not know.

Last updated 28 May 2020

?
This website collects data via Google Analytics. Opt in | Opt out.
×