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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.

We are unable to provide a replacement letter if one is lost. If you require a new letter, contact your general practice or hospital consultant who can issue you with a new one.

Children and young people

Specialists in paediatric medicine have reviewed the evidence on the level of risk posed to children and young people from COVID-19. The latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. Updated guidance on which paediatric patient groups should be defined as clinically extremely vulnerable has been shared with those NHS staff providing direct care for children and young people.

GPs and hospital paediatricians are reviewing those children within their care who are considered at high risk from COVID-19 in line with the latest evidence. They will determine whether each child’s risk status should be revised, and as appropriate discuss this with each patient before revising the patient’s risk flag.

Further information for patients is published on nhs.uk and gov.uk.

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.

Advice about your shielding letter

Lost and replacement shielding letters

If you are currently identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, your general practice can provide you with a copy of your shielding letter. NHS Digital are unable to reissue individual patient letters nationally.

Updated shielding guidance by letter or email

Updated advice and guidance is issued in line with the timelines outlined in your letter from the government. It may however take a few days for your letter 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.

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: 3 March 2021 3:59 pm