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Shielded Patient List

NHS Digital published the Shielded Patient List (SPL), to enable partner organisations across government to support and protect those who were shielding.


The Shielded Patient List (SPL) was a record of vulnerable patients thought to be at high risk of complications from COVID-19. NHS and social care organisations used the list to identify vulnerable patients in their local area. Once identified, these patients were sent a letter with advice on how to protect themselves and how to access NHS services when required.

The SPL consisted of a methodology and associated ruleset, a publication, and our dissemination of the data.


An updated NHS SPL was generated weekly by NHS Digital, incorporating additional patient data provided by acute Trusts and GP practices.  Each list was based on the latest version of the SPL clinical methodology at that time.

Questions about the SPL publication process should be directed to:

Full details can be found on our timings for information flows between systems page

Guidance for NHS and social care organisations

To help NHS and social care organisations identify patients at high risk of complications from coronavirus, we had created specific guidance for:

Tracking healthcare activity and outcomes for Shielded Patients, England

This publication considered data relating to emergency admissions, mortality and positive COVID-19 tests for a subset of patients on the English SPL compared with an age-matched sample of the general population. The open data file included the underlying counts and rates to allow for analysis, modelling and planning to take place to aid the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Further information

internal Coronavirus Shielded Patient List open data set, England

The coronavirus (COVID-19) shielded patient list enabled partner organisations across government to support and protect those who needed shielding. This data showed open data about the Shielded Patient List, and how it had been used.

internal Shielded Patient List: History

A brief history of the development of the Shielded Patient List (SPL), from its initiation in March 2020 through to reaching a steady state in May 2020.

internal COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment

In February 2021, we used the University of Oxford’s QCovid® risk prediction model to identify additional people to be added to the Shielded Patient List (SPL).

Last edited: 9 November 2021 11:32 am