The “Shielding Group” are people who are “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable” to Covid -19. They are people identified by the NHS because they have got pre-existing health conditions that mean they would be likely to have serious complications if they caught the coronavirus. This does not mean that they are currently unwell or unhealthy, just that it is very important that they prevent coming into contact with the virus wherever possible. There are over 42,000 people in this group in Leeds. In the first wave of Covid-19 in the UK, this group of people were advised to shield at home and to limit virtually all contact with people from outside their household. This advice was PAUSED on 1st August 2020. As more is now known about how the virus transmits and more is known about the ill- effects of shielding at home the government has reviewed the advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable in this second wave of the pandemic, now we are in lockdown again. Please take the time to review the latest advice for this group here.
It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well. Do continue to access and ask for support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns. Your local NHS services are well prepared and will put in measures to keep you safe. You can access a range of NHS services from home, including ordering repeat prescriptions or contacting your health professional through an online consultation.
Urgent Medical Needs and Emergencies
If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.
Emergency SMS service: If you are deaf or can’t verbally communicate you can register with the Emergency SMS service. Text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next.
Registration of Patients in the Extremely Vulnerable Group
When advice to shield at home is in place people are asked to register online. This confirms that they have received the advice and also enables them to:
– Register for priority online shopping
– Ask for assistance in physically getting food to their home
– Ask for assistance in affording food and supplies
– Ask for assistance because their usual care routine is not compatible with shielding advice
– Ask to be kept up to date with advice and guidance
Free pharmacy delivery is available to all people on the shielding list, whether they register nationally or not. All you need to do is to speak to your local pharmacy who will arrange this for you directly. If someone is struggling and needs a prescription more urgently than their pharmacy can deliver, they can ask if a volunteer is available to assist them by phoning the Leeds Helpline on 0113 376 0330.
Communications with the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group
Leeds has a number of ways to communicate directly with people who are on the shielding list:
Texts come from an account called “LCC Covid19”.
Emails are sent from a verified Gov Delivery account. These emails will never ask forpersonal details.
Landline telephone calls are made from a Leeds number. Anyone who is suspicious that a call may be fraudulent is advised to hang up and redial the LCC number.
Letters will be sent periodically to people who do not have access to electronic communications.
Local updates will appear on the dedicated Shielding webpage on the Leeds City Council website: www.leeds.gov.uk/shielding
Staying physically active at home and spending time outdoors is key to maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. Leeds City Council has produced a booklet on physical activities that are suitable for doing at home during the winter months. Click here to view this.
Assistance with Food and Shopping
If you are unable to get an online shopping delivery, or do not wish to, then there are services available where local volunteers will go to a supermarket on someone’s behalf withe their own shopping list to buy food. This allows people to choose and pay for their own groceries. If you wish to find out more you can call NHS Volunteers on: 0808 196 3646 or the Leeds Helpline on 0113 376 0330. The Leeds helping can also assist if you are in immediate need of food and need a food parcel and can refer on to you local food bank.
There are a number of supermarkets who have volunteer gift card schemes that means no money needs to change hands. Volunteer shopping cards enable you to purchase a shopping voucher for a set amount and have that sent directly to the friend, family member or volunteer who is doing your shopping for you, without having to exchange cash.
Each store has slightly different ways to top up or to reclaim any balance left on cards. The major stores using a volunteer shopping card are:
- Aldi Voucher Scheme : https://vouchers.aldi.co.uk/
- Asda Volunteer Card: https://cards.asda.com/volunteer
- Marks and Spencer All in this Together Giftcard:https://www.marksandspencer.com/we-re-all-in-this-together-volunteer-e-gift- card/p/gcp60282075
- Sainsbury’s Volunteer Shopping Card: www.sainsburysgiftcard.co.uk
- Tesco Volunteer eGift Card: https://www.tescogiftcards.com/recipient-details?
- Waitrose Vulnerable eGift Card: https://www.johnlewisgiftcard.com
f you are a carer over the age of 18 – i.e. you look after a friend or relative with an illness, frailty, disability, mental health issue or an addiction, then Carers Leeds offers a range of support, advice and information for carers and professionals in Leeds.Visit: www.carersleeds.org.uk or phone: 0113 380 4300, weekdays 9am to 5pm. If you are aged under 18, Family Action can support you via a range of methods including social media, activities, group work, networking, accessing and signposting to external agencies for young carers and families to gain additional support. Call: 0113 733 9126 or Visit: www.leedsyoungcarers.org.uk
Mental Health Services: Leeds Mindwell and LeedsMindmate
The Leeds MindWell website is full of tips on different ways you can protect your mental health, whilst staying home. Information is available on the coronavirus mental health information hub web page. Leeds Mindmate is the mental health website in Leeds for young people, their families and professionals who support them.
If you cannot work from home, you can use your shielding notification letter for Statutory Sick Pay and Employment Support Allowance purposes. If you have not received your letter, you can ask for one to be issued at: https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/shielded- patient-lis
Financial Help and Support
If you need financial help or support please have a look at the information on the Leeds Money Information Centre weblink.
AVSED are our local community hub who also offer a wealth of advice and support. They are based at the ANSA Clubhouse, Nunroyd Park, Yeadon, Leeds LS19 7HR and can be contacted as follows:
Call: 0113 2501702
Social Prescribing Service
Linking Leeds is the integrated city-wide Social Prescribing service for people in Leeds. Social Prescribing is a way of linking individuals with a range of local community services to improve social, emotional and mental wellbeing. It is a free service and you can apply for help yourself directly. You can fill in a form online or call 0113 336 7612.
Advice on Pregnancy and Shielding
Pregnancy alone does NOT require someone to shield. However, if you have been advised to shield for another reason, or specifically because you have congenital or acquired heart disease and are pregnant, please note the following:
If you are shielding and pregnant it is very important that you continue to have contact with your midwife so they can provide the maternity care needed to ensure wellbeing and the safe arrival of baby . This should be by phone or online wherever possible.
However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, you should talk to their Midwife or GP to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and to agree which appointments are right for you to attend in person. People are advised to contact hospital/ clinic to confirm all appointments.
LTHT Maternity Services. For more information and details about shielding whilst pregnant you can call the Leeds Maternity Coronavirus Advice Line: 07464907978
Domestic Violence Service
We know that shielding is particularly challenging for people living with domestic abuse. All professionals in Leeds are committed to keeping someone who is shielding safe – and that should not be a barrier to someone receiving support. Help is available.
Always call the police on 999 in an emergency (press 55 after the emergency number if you’re in danger and not able to speak for help)
You can find alternative accommodation if you need to escape from the Leeds Housing Options or Leeds Domestic Violence Service Tell them if you have been advised to shield. Alternatively you can call them on 0113 246 0401.
Find a safe place to stay with physical 2m distance wherever possible if you need to leave your home to seek support
More evidence has emerged which 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 clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place. Your school will make appropriate arrangements for you to be able to continue your education at home. Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.