Are you in a high risk group?

Shielding advice updated 5 November

You are in a high risk group or clinically vulnerable if you are:

Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions).

Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):

  • Chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions, treatments like chemotherapy, or medicines such as steroid tablets
  • Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)

If you are pregnant

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced guidelines if you are pregnant during the coronavirus outbreak. You can also follow Hereford County Hospital's Maternity Ward on Facebook.

Shielding guidance update 5 November 2020

View the full government guidance on shielding from 5 November 2020

The government has set out guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.

The guidance changed on 6 July, 1 August, 13 October and again on 5 November,  based on clinical evidence.

Shielding and other advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory.

What are the changes?

COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK.

Everyone in England, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, is required to follow the new national restrictions from 5 November, which have been set out by the government and apply to the whole population. These restrictions:

  • Require people to stay at home, except for specific purposes
  • Prevent people gathering with those they do not live with, except for specific purposes
  • Close certain businesses and venues

The new information below includes additional guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help protect you from coronavirus (COVID-19). We will also write to you with a version of this guidance.

These new shielding measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to 2 December. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a regional approach and will issue further guidance at the time.

If you require additional care and support

It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well under the new national restrictions. Providers of social care and medical services are making every effort to ensure services remain open and as safe as possible. You should continue to contact us if you have any ongoing social care needs.

You should also continue to seek support from the NHS for your existing health conditions. You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation. Find out more on the NHS website, or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

You should continue to access support from local charities and organisations, as well as NHS Volunteer Responders. As well as helping with shopping and medicines delivery, NHS Volunteer Responders can help with a regular, friendly phone call, either with someone else who has previously been advised to shield or with different volunteers and transport to medical appointments.

Essential supplies

There are a number of ways that those who are shielding can access food and other essentials:

  • Make use of the supermarket priority delivery slots that are available for this group. Online registration closed on 1 August but if you registered before then and got priority access to supermarket deliveries you'll keep it
  • Use the many commercial options now available for accessing food, including telephone ordering, food box delivery, prepared meal delivery and other non-supermarket food delivery providers. A list has been shared with local authorities and charities
  • If you need urgent help and have no other means of support, contact us to find out what support services are available in your area
  • For anyone facing financial hardship, the government has made £63 million available to local councils in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials

NHS Volunteer Responders

Support will continue to be available through the NHS Volunteer Responder Scheme

NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with:

  • Collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies
  • A regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who is also shielding and will stay in contact for several weeks and
  • Transport to medical appointments

Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health care professional for transport support. A carer or family member can also do this on their behalf. More information is on the NHS Volunteer Responders website.

Health care

Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

If your carer is a paid carer visiting you in your home, they will find information on the provision of home care and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the provision of home care guidance and PPE for care workers delivering homecare guidance. If you provide unpaid care, see the guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family.

If you receive direct payments we also have detailed guidance on personal care and direct payments.

Mental health support

It is also important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. If you or someone you care for are experiencing a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately.

Socialising inside and outside the home

The new national restrictions from 5 November, which apply to everyone, mean you must not leave or be outside of your home, except for limited purposes, which are set out in that guidance.

We are advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments. You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place, but we suggest that you always try to do so as safely as possible.

Try to keep all contact with others to a minimum and avoid busy areas. Whenever you go out, continue to maintain strict social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

You should also try to stay 2 metres away from other people within your household, especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate.

Consider shopping or going to the pharmacy at quieter times of the day. You must wear face coverings in all shops unless you are exempt.

You might also want to ask friends, family or volunteers to collect medicines for you.

You can also ask your local pharmacy if they will deliver the medication to you either themselves or through a volunteer.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is available to help support those who need it. Volunteers can collect and deliver shopping, medication and other essential supplies. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit the NHS volunteer responders website for further information.

The government is committed to supporting local councils and voluntary sector organisations to respond to those who have specific support needs and requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic. Details of coronavirus support and advice available.