Researchers from across the UK, led by the University of Oxford, produced a risk prediction model called QCovid® as part of a clinical research project. This combines a number of factors such as age, sex registered at birth, ethnicity, BMI and specific health conditions and treatments to estimate the risk of a person catching and becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus.
NHS Digital has been asked by the CMO to use QCovid® to identify people in England who may be at high risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus, but who have not currently been identified as high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable).
NHS Digital has therefore developed the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment, which uses QCovid® and patient data held in existing NHS Digital datasets, to identify those people with relevant factors or health issues, to assess their risk. NHS Digital generates risk assessment results for each of these people. Those with a result above an agreed threshold set by the CMO in consultation with senior clinicians, are considered to be potentially high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable).
A cautious approach has been taken, so there is a chance that a person’s risk is lower than the risk assessment has indicated. This is because, where data was missing from the NHS Digital datasets, the risk assessment uses default values which may overestimate a person’s risk. This cautious approach is to reduce the risk of underestimating people’s risk and excluding them from the group who will be added to SPL. This approach was agreed by the CMO as clinically the most appropriate to ensure that those people who may be at high risk can receive advice and support on how to protect themselves and can be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccination.
People who are identified as potentially high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) will therefore be prioritised for coronavirus vaccination and will be added to the SPL, which is maintained by NHS Digital.
The QCovid® Calculation Engine and the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment are each registered as medical devices with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Read more about the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment and QCovid®, including the research behind it, the data it uses and how it works.