Shielding advice updated to reflect return to tiered system on 2 December

The government has updated its guidance for patients on the shielding list to reflect the return to the tiered system of local restrictions on 2 December and provide advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people over the Christmas period.

(Photo: Rike/Getty Images)
(Photo: Rike/Getty Images)

Patients who are shielding are advised that they can choose to be part of a Christmas bubble, which will see restrictions relaxed for groups of up to three households between 23 and 27 December, but warned that 'it does involve greater risks for you'.

The guidance advises shielded patients to maintain social distance from anyone they don't live with at all times over the festive period and ensure everyone in the bubble washes their hands regularly and that spaces are kept well ventilated and cleaned frequently.

Patients should also 'think about who you sit next to, including during meals, and also consider wearing a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult as well as encouraging others to do the same'.

The guidance says: 'You will continue to minimise your risk of infection if you limit social contact with people that you do not live with, even at Christmas. It is important that you and the other people in your Christmas bubble consider these risks carefully before agreeing to form a bubble. Forming a Christmas bubble is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection.'

Tiered system

The updated guidance also sets out advice for clinically extremely vulnerable patients in each of the three tiers of local restrictions which come into effect on 2 December. While everyone is advised to work from home where possible, shielded patients who are unable to do so have been told that they can go to work in all three tiers.

Patients are also advised that they can go outside for exercise in all three tiers and can meet friends and those in their support bubbles in line with the rules for their tier.

However, those in tier 3 are being advised to stay at home as much as possible and maintain social distance within their household if it is practical. Those in tier 2 are advised to keep the number of different people they meet with 'consistently low'.

During an NHS England webinar on Thursday 26 November, NHS England deputy primary care medical director Dr Raj Patel said that patients on the shielded list should receive letters explaining the updated guidance starting from this weekend.

At the start of November, GP practices were advised that adults with Down's syndrome and those with stage 5 chronic kidney disease should be added to the shielded patient list. A full list of those covered by the advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people is here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

The NHS should provide 10 times the current daily recommended amount of vitamin D...

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Dr Vasumathy Sivarajasingam describes a pilot project in her practice that used a...

Long COVID could ‘wreak havoc’ on NHS workforce and disrupt vaccine rollout

Long COVID could ‘wreak havoc’ on NHS workforce and disrupt vaccine rollout

High rates of COVID-19 infection and the impact of long COVID could 'wreak havoc'...

GPs can give COVID and flu jabs at same time, says NHS England

GPs can give COVID and flu jabs at same time, says NHS England

GPs can now administer COVID-19 and flu jabs at the same time, according to updated...

Areas hit hardest by COVID-19 fall behind on vaccine campaign

Areas hit hardest by COVID-19 fall behind on vaccine campaign

Regions of England hit hardest by COVID-19 cases have fallen behind the rest of the...

COVID-19 pandemic drives first recorded dip in patients registered with GPs

COVID-19 pandemic drives first recorded dip in patients registered with GPs

A rise in deaths and reduced immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic saw the first-ever...