Skip to main content

Self-referring patients guidance for GP practices (archive)

Assess patients who have self-referred through the government service and flag them if clinically appropriate.

Self-referring patients

Self-referring patients are patients who have registered themselves through the government service Get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person, but who are not on the NHS Shielded Patient List that was populated through the national identification process.

What you need to do

You will receive a list of patients who are under the care of your practice who registered with the government service prior to 29 March 2020, and are not on the central NHS Shielded Patient List. This list will be provided within your GP IT system, but patient records will not be marked centrally.

We would like you to assess each patient and, if clinically appropriate, flag them as being someone at highest clinical risk of complications for COVID-19. View the list of clinical criteria for who is at highest clinical risk and should be added to the Shielded Patient List

How to flag a patient

You should flag any patients you identify as high risk by adding the SNOMED CT code to their patient record. 

Write to patients you have flagged as high-risk

You should write to patients you have identified as being at highest clinical risk and needing to shield. A Word template of the letter was sent to practices at the end of March 2020. View a pdf of the letter template.

What if a self-referring patient on the list is already flagged?

Some patients may still appear in the list if you have added the code in your records since the last weekly export of GP data in to the NHS Shielded Patient list. In this case, there is no further action required, provided you have already written to the patient.

We have automatically removed any patients who have already been flagged by you prior to the last weekly export.

When this task should be completed

We intend to extract the data on Tuesday 28 April 2020. Data will be extracted on a weekly basis using a schedule to be determined. The data will then flow to the government’s shielding support service.

Flagging at low or moderate risk

If you decide the patient should not be on the Shielded Patient List, you can flag them at moderate or low risk to keep a record of your decision. This is not a formal requirement. If you choose to do so, you can use the codes below if they are available in your clinical system.

Write to patients you have assessed as at low or moderate risk

You can also write to self-referring patients who you have assessed as being at low or moderate risk.

Download a letter template for patients assessed as not being at high risk

How many patients will need to be assessed

Most practices will receive a list of fewer than 40 patients to assess.

Support for patients at moderate risk

The government has provided a service to find coronavirus support.

You can submit a live referral for an individual that needs support (or an NHS service that requires volunteers providing they meet the referring criteria) to NHS Volunteer Responders or by phoning 0808 196 3382.

Volunteers can provide:

  • Check in and chat support – short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness because of self-isolation (note, this is not mental health advice)
  • Community support – collection of shopping, medication, or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home
  • Patient Transport – transport to take patients home who are medically fit for discharge
  • NHS Transport – who will deliver medicines on behalf of the community pharmacy or dispensing doctor

Health at home is a website that gives patients an overview of NHS services that are available, such as how to order repeat prescriptions online and get them delivered.

Public Health England have provided guidance on looking after mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Local councils are working with voluntary sector organisations and local communities to support residents in the response to COVID-19. You can signpost them to this website to find their local council and associated website to get more information.

The government has provided advice on employment and financial support.   

Who to contact for support

For questions about your IT system, please contact your IT system supplier.

For other support, please email: We will respond to enquiries between Monday to Friday.

Shielded patients list: guidance for General Practice

Last edited: 12 May 2020 10:36 am