Shielding

The National Shielding Support System is where you can register if you consider yourself as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable due to a medical condition.  If you previously shielded, or have a medical condition you think would class you as clinically extremely vulnerable, please discuss with your GP.  If you have difficulty speaking with your GP, you can register yourself, and your vulnerability will be checked against your medical records with your GP. 

You can use this service to:

  • get access to priority supermarket deliveries
  • confirm whether you’re likely to need additional support
  • update your details - for example, your address

You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

If you’ve already got priority supermarket deliveries, you’ll keep them.

You can also register your support need to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme.  This 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 www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk for further information.

We recognise that a small number of individuals may require additional support to follow the guidance. If you need further support to access these on-line resources, please contact the Coronavirus Wellbeing Service on 0208708 5555 who will be able to help you accessing the forms.

More guidance on national lockdown.

Shielding FAQs

Health

How long is the additional guidance to clinically extremely vulnerable people in place for?

  • The Government has introduced new National Restrictions guidance, which will come into effect on 4 January 2021. The advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable will cover this same period. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a regional approach, and we will issue further guidance at the time.

How is this different to shielding in March?

  • The Government is still advising CEV people to stay at home as much as possible,you can go outside to take exercise or to attend essential health appointments.
  • The full new guidance for CEV people is published on the government guidance page.

Who will the new guidance apply to?

  • The new guidance applies to individuals who have been deemed to be Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), meaning that they face the highest risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19. If you are in this group, you may have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this, and you may have been advised to shield in the past. See the guidance on definition of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.  
  • Down’s syndrome (adults only) and chronic kidney disease (stage 5) have recently been added as conditions that meet the criteria of extreme clinical vulnerability, and therefore the new guidance also applies to individuals with either condition.

Are these new rules compulsory?

  • As before, the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable is advisory, although you are strongly advised to follow the advice in order to keep yourself safe.

Will CEV people receive a letter?

  • The Government has said it write to everyone on the shielded patient list advising them of these changes. Guidance will also be available on the gov.uk website.

Can I still access NHS service / social care services?

  • It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well.
  • You should continue to seek support from the NHS for any 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. To find out more visit nhs.uk/health-at-home , or download the NHS App. If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.
  • 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.

Does my whole household have to shield?

  • Other members of your household are not required to shield and should follow the new National Restrictions guidance for the general population. That means they should continue to go to work and/or school.
  • To further protect yourself from COVID-19, you should 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. You should also follow the guidance of ‘Hands. Face. Space’.

Will I be able to go outside?

  • Everyone is advised to stay at home as much as possible, but you are still encouraged to go outside for exercise or to attend health appointments.
  • If you do go out you should keep all contact with others to a minimum and avoid busy areas. You should also follow the guidance of ‘Hands. Face. Space’.

Do children have to go to school?

  • Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.
  • Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place. Your child’s school will make appropriate arrangements for them to be able to continue their education at home.

Can I look after my grandchildren?

  • You are advised to minimise all social interactions, including providing childcare, even if part of a childcare bubble.
  • If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.
  • You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
  • There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

Why is the Government announcing this now? 

  • The new guidance has been announced because coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country, and this advice is designed to further protect the most vulnerable. Each nation within the United Kingdom has a slightly different health system and this information only applies to those living in England. The new National Restrictions also only apply in England.

Can I exercise outside? If so, how often and for how long? Can I drive to exercise?

  • It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • Everyone should avoid travelling in or out of their local area, and should look to reduce the number of journeys they make.
  • Additional advice to CEV people is that they should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport, but can travel within your local area to exercise if this is necessary

Support Offer

What support will be offered to CEVs?

  • If you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and you need support to access food, or you have other support needs to help you to stay at home as much as possible, you will be able to request support from Redbridge Council. Please call 0208708 5555. Some of the things we may be able to help with are: shopping availablity, securing a priority supermarket delivery slot, orsignposting you to local support or befriending services. 
  • Councils are being given funding to provide support to those Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who need it. This can include help with shopping availability, securing a priority supermarket delivery slot, orsignposting you to local support or befriending services. 
  • If friends and family are not able to collect your prescriptions or medicines for you, then you will also be eligible for free medicines delivery from your community pharmacy. 
  • If you cannot work, the Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) until April 2021, which you may be eligible for if you were on payroll before 30 October 2020. Please speak to your employer if you think you are eligible. 
  • Additionally, the letter you will receive can act as evidence for your employer to show that you cannot work outside your home until at least 1 February 2021 and that you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA), provided other eligibility criteria are also met.  The shielding date maybe extended further. 

How will CEVs be able to access support?

  • CEVs can use a new online service to register themselves, or on behalf of someone else, to: 
  • Request priority access to supermarket delivery slots (if you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you’ll keep them). 
  • Tell your council if you need support in order to follow this guidance that cannot be provided by friends, family or other support networks.
  • Update your details, for example, your address.
  • This service can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support. You’ll be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription. 
  • If you need to register your needs by phone, or have an urgent need, you should contact your local council directly.   

What food support is available for me/CEVs?

  • You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask friends, family or local charities to collect and deliver shopping for you.  
  • If you cannot access food, your local council can offer support. This may include helping you to request priority access to supermarket delivery slots (if you do not already have one) or help with shopping.  
  • If you need to register for help getting access to food you can go to https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support.  
  • NHS Volunteer Responders may also be able to help deliver your food shopping. To arrange support for yourself or someone else call 0808 196 3646.

How can I/CEVs access priority supermarket slots? 

  • Seven of the UK’s largest supermarkets (Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland, Waitrose, Ocado) are continuing to offer priority supermarket slots to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who need them.  
  • If you are already receiving priority access to supermarket delivery slots this will continue, you do not need to do anything further.  
  • You can use a new online service to register yourself, or on behalf of another CEV individual, to request priority access to a supermarket delivery slot at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support

Why am I/CEVs no longer receiving a food box? 

  • Government will not be re-introducing nationally provided food parcels and has moved to the locally led support model which recognises that councils are best placed to assess and meet CEVs food access needs with a focus on providing support in a way that encourages independence and choice. 
  • Use online shopping if you can, or ask friends, family or local charities to collect and deliver shopping for you. 
  • If you cannot access food, your local council can offer support. Local councils are now being funded to provide support to those Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who need help to access food. This may include helping you to request priority access to a supermarket delivery slot (if you do not already have one) or help with shopping. 

What other support is available for people who are staying at home?

  • If you need to register your needs by phone, or have an urgent need, you should contact us.
  • NHS Volunteer Responders may also be able to help with their ‘check in and chat service’. To arrange support for yourself or someone else call 0808 196 3646. 

Work  

Can I/CEVs go to work?

  • If you are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, you should not work outside the home until at least 1st February 2021. Your employer is expected to help you to work from home. 
  • CEV employees or workers should talk to their employer as soon as they can about the new guidance.  
  • If you are unable to work in your normal role or do all of your usual tasks from home, you should discuss whether there are any alternative arrangements that can be made with your employer, including considering using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough). 

Is it safe for people who live with CEVs to go to work?

  • Everyone is being advised to work from home where they can. 
  • Where it is not possible to work from home, household members who themselves are not classified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable can still go to work if they cannot work from home. 
  • Household members who live with CEVs should take extra care to follow the public health guidance on hand washing, social distancing, and complying with any Covid secure workplace guidance.  
  • You should try to remain two meters apart from each other, especially if household members display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate 

What support is available? 

  • The Government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) until Arpil 2021 which you may be eligible for if you were on payroll before 30 October 2020. Please speak to your employer if you think you are eligible. 
  • If you cannot work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Universal Credit (UC) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Eligibility criteria apply.   
  • The letter you will receive will act as evidence for your employer or the Department of Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP or 
  • SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks per sickness absence. If an individual has used up their SSP entitlement, they may be able to claim UC and/or ESA when their SSP ends, depending on individual circumstances. 
  • SSP is intended as a safety net for individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable, in cases where their employer chooses not to furlough them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and does not have other suitable policies in place (e.g. the ability to work from home, or the provision of special leave).

What support is available for self-employed CEVs who cannot work from home?

Health

How can CEVs access medicines if they cannot go to the pharmacy? 

  • If friends and family are not able to collect medicines for you, then you will also be eligible for free medicines delivery. 
  • Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge. 

What mental health support is available for CEVs during this difficult period? 

  • Anyone concerned about their mental health should speak to their GP or existing care team, or can access further advice via NHS.UK. Online self-referral options are commonly available for some services including children and young people’s mental health services, and psychological therapies services for adults with common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Every Mind Matters website is available for everyone with advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. 
  • You may also find helpful resources, including information on how to access counselling and psychotherapy, on the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s website (https://www.bacp.co.uk/). 
  • All mental health providers, including providers of psychological therapies services, have been issued with guidance to encourage them to deliver care remotely so that vulnerable groups, including those who are shielding, can receive care safely. 
  • Mental health trusts in England have been instructed to put in place 24/7 crisis lines for all ages so people can get urgent help whenever they need it. A national service finder for local urgent mental health telephone lines is now available on the NHS.UK website
  • 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. 

Housing

What help is available to pay my mortgage during this lockdown?

  • The mortgage holiday will be extended. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.  
  • For borrowers who have taken six months’ holiday and continue to face ongoing financial difficulties, lenders should continue to provide support through tailored forbearance options. This could include granting new mortgage payment holidays. Home owners in this situation should speak to their lender to discuss their options. 

Can I be evicted from my home during this lockdown period?

  • Measures to protect tenants during the COVID-19 outbreak remain in place.    

Can I leave my home if myself or my children are at risk of domestic abuse? 

  • You do not have to stay in your home if you need to leave to escape domestic abuse.  
  • Any individual in danger and who is unable to talk on the phone, should call 999 and then either press 55 on a mobile when prompted  or wait on a landline and you will be connected to a police call handler who will be able to assist you without you having to speak. 

Education

Should my CEV child go to school?

  • Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place. Your child’s school will make appropriate arrangements for them to be able to continue their education at home.
  • Speak to your GP or specialist clinician if you have not already done so, to understand whether your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place.

 What provisions will be made available to support children who need to access remote learning and cannot attend school? 

  • If following a discussion with your GP or clinician you child is unable to attend school, your school will make appropriate arrangements for them to be able to continue their education at home.

Should staff who are CEV continue to work in education and childcare settings? 

  • Government advice is that all CEV individuals should work at home where possible, regardless of which sector they work in. If you cannot work from home then you should not attend work.
  • If you cannot attend work for this reason, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The letter you will receive will act as evidence for your employer or the Department of Work and Pensions that you are advised to shield and may be eligible for SSP or ESA.
  • If you were on payroll before 30 October 2020 you may also be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), which is being extended until April 2021 December. Please speak to you employer if you think you are eligible.

Should staff in education and childcare settings who live with someone who is CEV, stay at home?

  • Those who work in the education or childcare sectors who live with someone who is CEV can still attend work if they cannot work from home, in line with the wider rules set out in the new National Restrictions.
  1. Am I/CEVs safe to send my child to nursery? 
  • More evidence has emerged that shows there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from COVID-19, even for children with existing health conditions. Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow this advice. Speak to your GP or specialist clinician if you have not already done so, to understand whether your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still CEV are advised not to attend early years settings whilst this advice is in place.
  • Attendance at early years settings will continue to be voluntary and non-statutory, though we encourage parents to continue to send their children unless they are advised that their child remains CEV. 

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