Latest shielding advice from government: What do you need to do if you are extremely vulnerable?
Shielding guidance update from NHS England. See below the latests advice to patients:
NHS Cancer Programme - Shielding Update 04/11/2020
Message from NHS England:
The Prime Minister announced on 31 October that from 5 November to 2 December new national restrictions in England would be enacted.
The government have today (4/11/20) published specific guidance for people considered clinically extremely vulnerable which will also apply during this period:
This guidance will become effective from Thursday 5th November 2020.
8 Key points of the New Guidance for Extremely Vulnerable People
- Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments.
- We urge people to continue to seek support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.
- People in this group may wish to meet up with one other person from outside their household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place, but it is suggested that they always try to do so as safely as possible.
- People in this group are strongly advised to work from home. If they cannot work from home, they are advised to not attend work for this period of restrictions. People in this situation may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit. Letters are being sent to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable which may act as evidence in accessing this support.
- Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow this advice. People should speak to their GP or specialist clinician, if they have not already done so, to understand whether their child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
- People in this group should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport. This includes not travelling to work, school, the shops or pharmacy. They should ask others to collect and deliver e.g. medicines and shopping - seeking support from friends, family, or a volunteer, including NHS Volunteer Responders.
- These new measures will apply nationally for 4 weeks up to 2 December.
- Other people living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to follow this guidance.
Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders
NHS Volunteer Responders can help with shopping and medicines delivery, as well as a regular, friendly phone call and transport to and from medical appointments.
DHSC are writing letters to everyone currently on the Shielded Patient List (SPL) to make them aware of the new guidance.
We expect these to arrive with patients from mid-week this week.
If you are particularly anxious – here are a few words from the counsellor at King’s College Hospital:
General guidance doesn’t replace your own assessment of your individual circumstances or risks.
Speak with your healthcare team to collaborate on a plan for what is reasonable for you.
If loved ones want you to socialise more, you may feel a sense of peer pressure, or even guilt, if you’re unable to or don’t feel ready to.
You are not alone in this. Such feelings are natural.
Try to actively adopt a compassionate view towards yourself by acknowledging that you are doing your best in a difficult situation outside of your control.
Unfortunately, being vulnerable sometimes leads to others forgetting your sense of agency & autonomy in managing your health condition. It may be helpful to reclaim this.
It’s okay to be assertive. Gently and lovingly remind others that while they should do what they think is right for them, you will do the same for yourself.
Anxiety about uncertainty is normal.
You may have thoughts about how long this will last.
Focus on the short term. Allow some flexibility in your mind that you’ll respond to future changes when they arise.
Surabhi Chaturvedi, Psychotherapist in Haemato-Oncology, King’s College Hospital
- Part 1. Advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak in UK
- Part 2. Implications for blood cancer patients
- Part 3. Implications for our MDS local patient group meetings
- Part 4. Travel precautions
- Part 5. What to do if you suspect you have Coronavirus.
The information below has been taken from the NHS websites, as well as advice given by our scientific advisors, One Cancer Voice, Bloodwise and Leukaemia Care.
Part 1. Advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak in UK - 05-11-2020
National restrictions from 5 November
The following is an excerpt of the guidance published by the government at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november. Please visit the government website for a more detailed description of the guidance.
COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and in other countries. We must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take to fight coronavirus is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection. That is why, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, you must:
- Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Close certain businesses and venues.
These new measures will reduce the growth rate of the virus, which will prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open, ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work.
The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to and including Wednesday 2 December. At the end of that period, we will return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
These measures will be underpinned by law. Police and other authorities will have powers to give fines and break up gatherings.
You can help to protect your friends and family by downloading the NHS COVID-19 App to keep updated on the latest guidance from Thursday 5 November
There is separate guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.
Part 2. Implications for blood cancer patients
If I have blood cancer, is there anything else I need to do?
If you are at higher risk you are advised to:
- Be more meticulous about doing everything advised above.
- Limit the time you spend with other people.
If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.
Your team may find ways to reduce you spending unnecessary time in the hospital too, for example by doing more telephone consultations or offering home/local blood tests.
Many of the MDS consultants have already put such plans in place. Call your Nurse to find out if this is an option for you.
If I have blood cancer, am I more at risk?
For many people, their body will be able to fight off coronavirus like other viruses and colds. However, coronavirus can have more serious effects on anyone who has a long-term health condition or a weakened immune system, including some people with cancer. This includes:
- People having chemotherapy, or who’ve had chemotherapy in the last 3 months.
- People having immunotherapy or other antibody treatments for cancer.
- People having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors.
- People who’ve had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with some types of blood cancer which affect the immune system, such as MDS, chronic leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma, even if no treatment is being given.
Part 3. Implications for our MDS UK local patient group meetings
It doesn't seem likely that we shall be able to resume face-to-face meetings for a while yet.
We still want to maintain our services to you, and provide you with all the regular news about MDS, as well as giving you an opportunity to connect to one another virtually. We know how important patient to patient contact is for everyone.
We've held many online/virtual Zoom meetings. Feedback has been very positive, and patients who had not been able to attend face-to-face meetings for various reasons were able to participate. Hence, we are now offering online meetings open to all members and carers.
Whatever happens during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, we aim to maintain some virtual meetings, as it has attracted new members, who had not attending face to face meetings previously.
We are also providing nationwide meetings with particular topics which you may find of interest. Please let us know if you have any topic in mind.
Many patients have already embraced the video meeting call technology Zoom (or something similar) in order to stay in touch with family members during the lockdown. If you haven't, please contact us.
If you are a first time user of video call – please don’t worry. The first 15 minutes of each meeting will be set aside to sort out any technical issues.
Part 4. Travel advice about coronavirus
Upcoming travel plans
From 5 November to 2 December 2020, travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education. Different rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You must follow all the rules that apply to you.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides guidance on COVID and non-COVID risks overseas. The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to many countries and territories on the basis of COVID risks. You should check the travel advice for your destination.
Travel disruption is possible worldwide. Other countries may bring in new measures with little notice such as border closures, movement restrictions or quarantine rules. Travellers should be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.
Part 5: What to do if you suspect you have Coronavirus
There might not be tests available at any given time.
The NHS is experiencing very high demand for testing at the moment.
More tests, both for drive-through sites and home delivery, might be made available later. Please visit this page often.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
These are also symptoms of other common conditions such as a regular cold, virus or flu. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have coronavirus.
If you feel unwell
If you are getting a test because you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home (self-isolate) until you get your result.
Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until you get your result.
Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
- Scotland: call your GP surgery or call 111 if your surgery is not open
- Wales: call 111
- Northern Ireland: call 111
Check if you need medical help
NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Use this service if:
- you think you might have coronavirus
- in the last 14 days you've been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus
- you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus