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Guidance for adults, children and young people

What the Shielded Patient List means for those who think they, or their child, may be at high-risk of complications from coronavirus along with common questions about the list.

If you have been identified as at high risk of complications from coronavirus (COVID-19) - also known as being 'clinically extremely vulnerable' - you will receive a letter from your general practice, hospital or (if identified nationally) from our national service. If you are unclear why you have received a letter, contact your general practice or hospital consultant.

You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.  You can quickly and easily access a range of NHS services from homeincluding ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. To find out more visit www.nhs.uk/health-at-homeor download the NHS App.

If you have misplaced a recent letter, you can request a replacement letter for the period 21 February to 31 March 2021, up until the end of April 2021.

If you require a letter for a period prior to the above dates, contact your general practice or hospital consultant who can issue you with a new one.


Children and young people (CYP)

The Department of Health and Social Care have written to children and young people patients and their parents to inform them that they are no longer clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).  

Recent research shows that children and young people, including those originally considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable, are at very low risk of becoming seriously unwell from the virus.  

There will be a very small number of patients advised to isolate or reduce their social contact for short periods of time due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment. These patients will be under a specialist consultant and should continue to follow their advice.  

CYP vaccination eligibility is not affected by the changes to the Shielded Patient List. Vaccination is now available for all 16-17 year olds. Some 12-15 year olds are also eligible for vaccination because of the very specific risks they face and the particular benefits they will receive from the vaccine. However, being eligible for vaccination does not mean CYP are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable or need to shield. 


The vaccine is being offered to those most at risk

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. Further information can be found on the NHS.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine webpage.

In most cases, your general practice or hospital specialist can answer questions about your shielding letter/email and whether you should be on the Shielded Patient List.

Advice about your shielding letter

Lost and replacement shielding letters

National shielding in England is now paused. If you are currently identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, and need a replacement letter for the period from 21 February to 31 March 2021, you can request this letter.

You can find current guidance for the period 1 April to 21 June 2021.

As the course of the pandemic develops, you may be advised to shield or to follow different advice in future. The Government will write to you to keep you informed about any changes to the advice.

Updated shielding guidance by letter or email

As and when necessary, updated advice and guidance is issued by letter from the government. This can take a few days to arrive by post.

An email version of the advice and guidance can be provided much more quickly to those who have previously registered an email address with their general practice. If you have not already done so, we recommend you review your contact details with your general practice and consider providing a current personal email address to ensure you can be kept up to date.

Questions about advice and guidance in your letter or email

Contact your general practice or hospital specialist if you have questions about why you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Further guidance on shielding and protecting yourself can be found on the government's Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 webpage.

Should you be on the list?

Your general practice or hospital specialist can confirm whether you are on the list and discuss any questions you may have.

You should also speak to your general practice or hospital specialist if you've received a letter but do not believe you should be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, or no longer wish to be included in the national Shielded Patient List for England. They can listen to your concerns and revise the high risk flag on your medical record to moderate or low. 

Any change may take up to two weeks to be reflected in the national list, meaning you may still receive some advice and guidance for a short period after being removed from the high risk category.

NHS Digital are unable to change an individual patient’s high risk category nationally.


Incorrect contact details

We use the contact information in your general practice record to provide advice and guidance by letter, email, and sometimes by text message. It is important to ensure your general practice holds current and accurate contact information for you.

If any of your contact details are incorrect (including your residential address, personal email address or personal mobile telephone number), contact your general practice who will be able to update your record.


Deceased patients

Some clinically extremely vulnerable patients who have sadly died may receive a letter or an email about shielding policy guidance. This is because there can be a few days delay between the list being generated and the letter being printed, which means that letters may be sent using slightly out of date information. We apologise if this has caused distress to any loved ones.

Please contact the patient’s general practice if you have any questions or concerns.


Who has access to your data

If you're on the Shielded Patient List you may wish to know more about who has access to your data.

The basis for sharing information to support clinically extremely vulnerable people on the Shielded Patient List can be found in our transparency notice. The pages in this site also include more detailed information about who can access information, what they can access and for what purpose.

Last edited: 21 September 2021 3:50 pm