The government have announced that they are expanding the group of people who are identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (shielding). This group now includes patients identified by the government’s new Covid-19 Population Risk Assessment tool, called the Q-Covid tool. This calculates your risk not just according to your medical conditions, but also by factors such as your age, weight, gender, ethnicity and postcode.
This means some people with no diagnosed medical problems may be added to the list because these other features are what are increasing your risk. It also explains why some patients with a particular condition, for example a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, are being advised to shield but not all.
This has effectively moved quite a few people from the ‘at risk’ list to the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (shielding) list. We have found that it has more than doubled the number of shielding patients on our practice lists.
If you are one of these patients, you will receive a letter from the government, explaining what this means for you.
The changes are still working their way through our systems. All newly identified shielding patients
are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine as a priority and we will be inviting you as soon as we can. Please visit our Covid Vaccine programme update page for more information about when you will be called for your vaccine. Remember, it is important that you wait for us to contact you. This helps us keep our normal service going and to get to you sooner.
If you have questions about the new shielding changes, for now please avoid contacting us by phone, to keep the lines free for patients with medical problems. Instead, try visiting the government website as this has the most current information about the changes and what it means to be on the shielding list at:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/. If you still need to discuss something with us,then please use the ‘Contact Us’ facility on this website instead of phoning. Please allow 1 working week for us to get back to you.
In the meantime, remember it is your choice whether to shield or not on receiving a government letter, so the fact of receiving a letter in itself does not place any new legal obligation on you. We will update this page as soon as we have more information , including with contact details about how to get in touch with us if you do need to discuss it with us to discuss this.