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Shielded Patient List guidance for other organisations

Shielded Patient List guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS 111 and mental health providers. 

Guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)

The NHS Shielded Patient List is provided to CCGs on a weekly basis. CCGs can use the information for

  • integrated work with local authorities
  • providing support to the national volunteer programmes, for example, delivering food parcels
  • sharing data between primary and secondary care where instructed to do so by GP practices and/or trusts
  • risk stratification. The national data opt out is applied to the data used for risk stratification
  • operational planning to predict likely demand on primary, community and acute service for vulnerable patients - this purpose will be carried out on pseudonymised data only with the national data opt out applied

CCGs are unable to add or deduct patients from the Shielded Patient List. 

Letter of release for CCGs

Following the end of shielding, a revised letter of release was issued to CCGs at the end of September.

Cabinet Office

The NHS Shielded Patient List is provided to the Cabinet Office who operate the Extremely Vulnerable Persons service. The Cabinet Office provides a registration service for clinically extremely vulnerable patients to opt-in for additional support. Depending on the level of support required, this information may then be shared with:

  • local authorities - to confirm which patients’ resident within a local authority area of responsibility have registered for additional services and support
  • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - to help provide those patients who have registered on the service, with a range of support options which may include supermarket priority slots, deliveries of essential food and supermarket supplies to patients at their homes

Guidance for NHS 111 providers

As part of an NHS England Pilot Programme, the NHS Shielded Patient List is provided weekly to Redbridge CCG, to support the NHS 111 call handling systems for London. This ensures that shielding patients who call 111 and require referral to an emergency department, are now flagged as being on the Shielded Patient List – enabling clinicians who provide onward direct care to make appropriate arrangements for the patient concerned.

If you are an NHS 111 provider and want to learn about this pilot, please contact

Guidance for mental health providers

The Shielding Patient List (SPL) is available to mental health providers.  This may include providers who also provide Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, only where they are the same organisation that provides secondary mental health care services.

Mental health providers need to be able access their local SPLs to identify those patients under their care who have been or are currently shielding, and continue to be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable in accordance with government and Chief Medical Officer guidance for England, in order to proactively contact and support them. This is because NHS England and Improvement formally requested that all providers undertake a series of actions for the provision of NHS care to shielding patients as communicated in the letters of 4 June and from the Medical Director for the NHS in England, Steve Powis, and the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May.

The above letter included an explicit action that “Mental health, learning disability and autism teams should ensure that patients under their care who are known to be shielding are proactively contacted and supported through this time”. This means that for those patients on the SPL who are in receipt of mental health services from the provider, the provider is able to proactively contact those patients and review their care plans with them in light of their shielding status, as shielding is an extreme course of action likely to have had significant impact on the shielding individual’s mental health.

Mental health providers in scope can use the SPL data to:

  • identify those patients who were advised to shield who are also receiving care from their services
  • having identified them, where appropriate, proactively contact these patients and
  • optimise mental health care for these patients through reviewing and amending their care plans as necessary, including potentially setting up new interventions or services

NHS Digital will grant providers with access to local SPLs in line with the application process set out below so they can fulfil these actions.

Data for secondary mental health providers

Secondary mental health providers can use the mental health SPL application form to apply to receive data from the shielded patient list and find out more about the policy and guidance on how to use the data. The data will enable mental health providers to identify patients in their care who are, or have been, shielding.

If you are a mental health service provider and want to learn about this service, please contact


NHS Digital has published open dashboards publicly. It also offers more granular dashboards to CCGs and local authorities. If you are from a CCG or local authority and would like access please contact

Last edited: 13 October 2021 3:11 pm