We are receiving many calls from patients asking if they will be receiving an at risk or “shielding letter”.
These letters have been sent both centrally by the NHS and directly from the Surgery to those patients who have been identified as being very high risk due to their medical condition(s). This conditions considered to be very high risk are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- 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
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
Those patients who are over 70 years of age should be self-isolating and would therefore not be due to receive a letter.
We have also identified a further group of patients who fall into the moderate risk category due to their medical condition(s), and these patients have also now been written by the Surgery with advice on self-isolating
Further advice on self-isolating can be found on the NHS’ website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
Our GPs are currently reviewing our patient list and are identifying those additional patients who should be in receipt of a shielding letter and we are currently in the process of sending letters to those identified patients.
If you feel you do fall into the high risk category as you have but have not yet received a letter, you can self-identify as high risk on the GOV.UK Website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
Please either self-identify as outlined above, or wait for your letter from the Surgery to arrive.
Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling for work purposes, but only when you cannot work from home
These reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
Further advice is available on the NHS Coronavirus Website.