Shielding vulnerable patients
Advice on shielding – change of advice for extremely vulnerable patients
From 6 July, the guidance will change so you can meet in groups of up to six people from outside your household – outdoors with social distancing. For example, you might want to enjoy a summer BBQ outside at a friend’s house, but remember it is still important to maintain social distancing and you should not share items such as cups and plates. If you live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), you will be able to form a support bubble with another household.
From 1 August, you will no longer need to shield, and the advice will be that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue maintaining rigorous social distancing.
People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but may choose to leave their home, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If you choose to spend time outdoors, you may do so with members of your own household. If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household or you may choose to spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time.
Children (0-18) and shielding – 6 July update
The majority of children who have been previously identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will no longer need to shield.
Does my child need to continue shielding?
Children should continue to shield until 31 July. From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will be paused so clinically vulnerable people of all ages will no longer need to be advised to shield.
Children will only be removed from the shielded patient list by their GP or specialist doctor following consultation with the child and their family. Specialists and GPs will be asked to contact children and their families to discuss this over the summer. Families do not need to take any immediate action. We expect these consultations to happen over the summer.
Children who are removed will not be advised to shield again if government guidance on shielding is changed in the future.
If your child is transitioning to adult services before 31 July, you should have a discussion with their current and future specialist to determine whether your child should continue shielding.
GPs and specialist clinicians have been informed of the changing guidance.
Why is this changing?
The original shielded patients list was intended to identify people with conditions that put them at highest clinical risk from Covid-19, based on the evidence available at the time. It was developed early in the outbreak when there was less evidence and data on the groups most at risk from Covid-19.
Specialists in the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) have looked at the most recent evidence specific to children and developed specific guidance. The Chief Medical Officer and senior clinicians have reviewed the guidance and are confident in their findings and advice.
The latest evidence shows that risks to children are low and only those with a certain medical conditions are likely to be advised to shield if shielding needs to be reintroduced in the future.
Can my child return to school/nursery?
Children should continue to shield until 31 July. From 1 August, following the pausing of guidance, children will be able to return to school or nursey in line with their peers and school terms.
Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) guidance: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-shielding-guidance-children-young-people#introduction
Where to get local support:
For those residents who are not in a high-risk category but still in need of local community and voluntary support, there are several initiatives taking place across the county. Visit Oxfordshire All In or Oxford Together for more information on community support near you.