On 21 March the Government issued guidance on shielding and protecting people who, on medical grounds, are considered extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
As part of this, the NHS identified the need to communicate the very latest, reliable information directly to these people, so they can use it to protect themselves and self-isolate effectively.
We know from research conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) that people want to receive messages from trusted sources in this way.
A small group working across national organisations - from NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS Business Services Authority and the BIT - was quickly stood up last week to develop the new text messaging service that would deliver this information. This service is part of a Vulnerable, Isolated and Social Care team, which is looking at how we use technology to support these people.
As a result, from Monday 23 March, daily text messages are being sent to over 1 million people who have been identified by the NHS in England as needing to protect themselves by self-isolating for at least 12 weeks because they are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This group includes people who have had organ transplants, have certain types of cancers, or have significant respiratory conditions.
The text messages will be sent by the NHS and will include: