Coronavirus update for vulnerable patients

Back in March, around 2.5 million people across England were advised by the Government to shield at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves. This week the guidance for ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ patients was updated for the November lockdown – so what does this mean for this group of people? 

Firstly let’s clarify the ‘clinically vulnerable’ group.

Those who are ‘clinically vulnerable’ (at moderate risk)

This group of patients were asked to stay at home as much as possible during the first national lockdown. The NHS considered these people to be at ‘moderate risk’ from coronavirus, which included:

Those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (at high risk)

Patients who have a high risk from the complications of coronavirus should have received a letter from the NHS back in March. This group, classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, were asked to shield for 12 weeks in order to protect themselves from the virus. Patients in this group include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with specific cancers
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, and severe COPD
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • Women who are pregnant, with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

The full list can be found here.

Other patients at risk

Since the first lockdown, the NHS has advised that other factors can also increase the risk of serious illness from coronavirus. These include being aged 60 or over, or being from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background – find out more here.

If you know someone who’s at a greater risk of complications from coronavirus and needs help getting their medication delivered, let them know about Pharmacy2U.

Latest NHS guidance for those ‘clinically vulnerable’

For those ‘clinically vulnerable’ who are at moderate risk, the NHS is advising they stay home as much as possible. 

This group is still allowed to go out to work, if working from home is not an option, and also for food or exercise; but it’s important to follow social distancing at all times.

Latest NHS guidance for patients who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’

Those who have been classed as being at high risk are also advised to stay at home as much as possible, and also to take extra precautions from coronavirus, outlined in the latest advice.

While they’re still able to go out to exercise and for essential medical appointments, the NHS is advising these patients to try and stay away from other people as much as possible and avoid busy areas.

Patients should work from home if they can, but if that is not possible they’re advised to not go to work. They will receive a letter from the Government advising that they should stay home. If they’re unable to work there may be support available – find out more.

You are ‘strongly advised’ to avoid going to the shops

Where possible, patients are being advised to shop online. There is additional support available from the Government with the NHS Volunteer Responders programme which brings essential deliveries such as food to your home. 

If you are on medication and have an NHS repeat prescription, we can deliver your medication directly to your door for free, safely. Since March we’ve saved over 3 million trips outside for our patients. Get your medication without leaving home today – find out more.

This guidance will be reviewed regularly by the Government, to maintain safety for those who are ‘extremely vulnerable’. For the latest government updates click here.

Phil Day By Phil Day Superintendent Pharmacist Published 06/11/2020