Are you in a high risk group?
From 4 January 2021 England is in national lockdown - stay at home. The government has updated its shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable. These advisory measures are in addition to the rules and guidance which everyone must follow during the national lockdown.
If you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will have received a letter from the NHS or your GP telling you this. The clinically extremely vulnerable will get priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population. You will be contacted again by the NHS with more information about on when and how you will be invited to get the vaccine.
What are the changes?
In addition to the guidance and rules which apply to everyone during the national lockdown, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should:
- Work from home. If you cannot work from home then you should not attend work
- Try to stay 2 metres away from other people in your household especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate
- Clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people should not attend school or other educational settings
- Limit the time you spend outside the home and do not travel unless essential
- Not go to the shops. Use online shopping, the help of friends and family or support
- Not go to a pharmacy. Contact your pharmacy for delivery services if friends or family are unable to collect medicines for you.
- Only go outside of your home and garden for health appointments, exercise or if it is essential
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 lockdown 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.
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
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.
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
Continue to maintain strict social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Try to keep 2 metres from people in your household too especially if they have symptoms or are self-isolating.
Stay at home as much as possible. You can still go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments, but try to keep all contact with others outside of your household to a minimum, and avoid busy areas.
In line with the regulations which apply to everyone, you can still meet with your support bubble, but you cannot meet others you do not live with unless they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors you can meet one person from another household for exercise.
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.
You are in a high risk group or clinically extremely 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
- 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.