We understand that some extremely vulnerable patients have not yet received the promised government letters. Please do not call the surgery as we have limited capacity to help.  If you think you fall into the extremely vulnerable category, follow the government advice here. You can register for support through the government scheme here without contacting us.Read on for more advice about vulnerable and extremely vulnerable people.

Am I vulnerable or extremely vulnerable and what is the difference?

Everyone is worried about catching coronavirus. For some it is especially important to avoid.

The government has defined two key groups who should take special care:

1. Vulnerable patients. These are patients 70 or over, or under 70 with a long-term condition (broadly speaking these are patients to whom we offer a flu vaccine each year).

Vulnerable patients should observe the same social isolation rules as everyone else but are urged to be particularly stringent about this. You should go out only when essential and work from home if possible. Your employer is expected to be supportive in helping you with this. Please work this out with your employer without involving us. Your employer is also expected to show discretion about requiring a sick note from you if you need to take time off work, even if you have symptoms. These things are important to allow us to focus on clinical care at the surgery. Providing proof of a patient’s medical conditions is a non-clinical, low-priority activity for us at the moment.

2. Extremely vulnerable patients. These are patients who:

– have had transplants – like kidney or liver transplants

– are having treatments for some cancers

– have severe long-term lung disease

– were born with conditions that mean they are more likely to get infections

– are taking drugs that reduce the body’s ability to fight infections

– are pregnant with significant heart disease.

Extremely vulnerable patients should observe the same social isolation rules as everyone else and are urged to be particularly stringent about this. You should also take extra precautions, and the government is writing to all patients in this group to tell them about these. The main extra precaution is called shielding, and the key component of this is that you should remain indoors for at least the next 12 weeks. The letter will also describe additional support that is being put in place for extremely vulnerable people to help you with this.

If you read the government advice and work out that you are in the extremely vulnerable group you should practice stringent social isolation and shielding from now on. You do not need to confirm this with us.

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