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COVID-19 – high risk shielded patient list identification methodology

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This document describes the methodology that has been used to identify patients who meet the high risk criteria for contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), due to their inclusion in one or more of the disease groups as outlined in table 1.

Find information on how adult patients have been identified as being at high risk as a result of the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment.

The list of conditions that defined this cohort was signed off by the Chief Medical Officers of the four nations of the UK on 18 March 2020 and is listed in this document. 

March 2021: Version 11.1

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, working with the CMOs of the devolved administrations and other senior clinicians, commissioned NHS Digital to produce a list of vulnerable people at “high risk” of complications from COVID-19, who should be shielded for at least 12 weeks.

This list, originally referred to as the Vulnerable Patient List (VPL), has been renamed the Shielded Patient List (SPL).

The SPL list was defined as a subset of a wider group of people who may be “at risk”.

Specific advice applies to these groups, currently:

  1. “At Risk” – a larger group (circa 19 million) normally at risk from influenza – should practice strict social distancing
  2. “At high risk” – a smaller sub-group (circa 1.5 million), defined by CMO – should practice complete “shielding”

Last edited: 18 March 2021 3:30 pm

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