New government guidance for people on the clinically extremely vulnerable list

People on the clinically extremely vulnerable list in England have today received further guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care on keeping safe as the country introduces new national restrictions from Thursday.

Yesterday (3 November), it was announced that adults (18+) who have Down’s syndrome have been added to the list of people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Everybody must follow the national lockdown guidance from Thursday, which can be found here.

In addition, the Government are advising people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to take the following precautions. Advice to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable has always been and continues to be advisory.

  • Socialising: Stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors to exercise or attend health appointments. People can exercise with those they live with or in their support bubble;
  • Work: If people cannot work from home, they should not attend work. They may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during this period of national measures. People in the same household who are not clinically extremely vulnerable can still attend work, in line with the new national restrictions;
  • School: As evidence has shown there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from Covid-19, most children originally on the shielded patient list no longer need to be and therefore can still attend school. If they are unsure, parents should contact their child’s usual GP or hospital clinician to check whether they should still be considered clinically extremely vulnerable. If a GP or clinician has advised that a child should remain on the shielded patient list, they are advised not to attend school. Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but aren’t themselves, should still attend school.
  • Going outside: Avoid all non-essential travel – people should continue to travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by their doctor. They are strongly advised not to go to any shops or to pharmacies.

More information from the government on the new guidance can be found here.

 Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said:

‘We have previously said that where the conditions of transmission of the infection alters significantly we would alert patients in relative regions.

With the prevalence of the virus continuing to increase across England and in places across the world, it’s right that we adjust our advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable accordingly so they can feel as safe as possible over the coming few weeks.

Our guidance for this group of individuals has always been advisory, but I would strongly urge all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to take these extra precautions to keep themselves as safe as possible.’

Individuals in this group will also be able to use an online service which will help people to request priority access to supermarket delivery slots and to inform their council they need help. NHS Volunteer Responders can also help with a regular, friendly phone call, and transport to and from medical appointments: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support

The new national restrictions will come into force from Thursday and are set to be reviewed on 2 December.

More information from the government on the new guidance can be found here.