Support for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable People
Protecting people more at risk from Covid-19
Some people are at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV). Separate guidance, support and assistance is available in Newcastle for anyone in this category.
This guidance applies to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals only. Others living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to follow this guidance. They should instead follow the advice and restrictions that are in place for everyone in England.
Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.
The Government are also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves.
You are advised to follow the practical steps described below to minimise your risk of exposure to the virus.
Who is in the CEV group?
The CEV group and guidance was formerly known as Shielding and helps protect people most at risk from Covid-19.
A full list is available on the Government website
Everyone on the Shielded Patient List should already have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP. If you have received your first dose, you should still ensure you take up your second dose of the vaccine when it is offered to you. Having two doses should further increase your level of protection.
No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from COVID-19. As such, you should continue to take the extra precautions set out in this guidance to help protect yourself.
You should continue to maintain social distancing when both indoors and outdoors. However, you do not need to socially distance from members of your household or support bubble.
Continue to minimise the number of social interactions that you have, whilst also observing the rules on meeting people you do not live with.
The fewer social interactions you have, the lower your risk of catching COVID-19. Your risk of catching COVID-19 is also lower if you meet with others outdoors rather than indoors.
You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so with people from outside your household, subject to the wider rules on social contact.
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing, or where other people’s activities may reduce their likelihood of maintaining social distancing.
You can find more information online about how to stop the spread of coronavirus
Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible.
If you cannot work from home, the Government are no longer advising that you do not attend the workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work. Some employers may introduce regular testing of employees as part of these measures. You may also want to consider how you get to and from work including if it is possible to avoid using public transport during rush hour.
If you need support to work at home or in the workplace you can apply for Access to Work. Access to Work may provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide.
If you have access to occupational health and employee assistance programmes in the workplace, these services can also provide you with a range of health support and advice for your physical and mental health needs.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September. You may continue to be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has also been extended until 30 September.
From 1 April you will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield, given the lifting of shielding measures nationally. You may be eligible for SSP or ESA if you are sick or incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions.
If you have concerns about your health and safety at work then you can raise them with your workplace union, HSE or your local authority. Where employers are not managing the risk of COVID-19, HSE and local authorities will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply with enforcement notices, this could lead to prosecution.
The existing employment rights framework provides protections against discrimination, unfair dismissal and detriment. Specific guidance has been published for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is important that children attend school for their education, wellbeing, mental health and long-term development. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should return to their school or other educational setting from 1 April.
This includes early years provision, wraparound childcare and applicable out-of-school settings. Children who live in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable are not advised to shield and should have returned to school or college on 8 March.
Where parents are concerned about their child’s attendance, they should speak to their child’s school about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure their children can regularly attend school.
The use of rapid lateral flow tests allows us to identify individuals with coronavirus (COVID-19) who do not have symptoms, which make up around a third of all cases. Finding asymptomatic cases, along with other infection prevention and control measures such as social distancing, can help us manage the spread of the virus.
To safeguard the health of the teaching workforce and keep as many staff, pupils and students in school and college as possible, we have made rapid lateral flow tests available to schools and colleges. Lateral flow tests can also be accessed directly for households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary school pupils and for households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary school staff. This testing will also help keep safe those in the community who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families.
All secondary schools and colleges are continuing to put in place a range of protective measures to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. These include social distancing, handwashing, use of face coverings in specific situations, bubbles, enhancing cleaning, ventilation and managing confirmed cases.
All education settings have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by Public Health England (PHE) which, when followed, create an inherently safer environment for early years children, pupils, students, staff and families.
If you need to use public transport, you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt. Consider travelling outside peak hours to reduce the number of people with whom you come into contact.
If you do travel, walk or cycle if you can. For longer journeys, or if you are unable to walk or cycle, try to minimise the number of people you come into close contact with.
You may want to avoid car sharing with people from outside your household or support bubble, and ensure that you use a face covering when using taxis.
Shopping and Medicines
While you are not advised to avoid going to the shops, you may wish to continue using online delivery for food and essential shopping, or to ask family and friends for help. If you do go out to the shops or pharmacy, consider going at quieter times of the day. You must wear a face covering in all shops unless you are exempt.
If you have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots then we can confirm that the participating supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until 21 June. After this date individuals can continue to book deliveries from a supermarket.
You might still want to ask friends, family or volunteers to collect medicines for you. The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is still 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 NHS Volunteer Responders for further information.
You are strongly advised not to go to a pharmacy.
In the first instance, you should ask if any friends, family, or volunteers can collect medicines for you.
If friends and family are not able to collect your medicines for you, and you and/or the pharmacy are unable to arrange a volunteer, then you will 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.
Accessing care and support
It is important that you continue to receive the care and support you need to help you stay safe and well. Providers of social care and medical services are making every effort to ensure services remain open and as safe as possible.
You should continue to seek support from the NHS for your existing 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 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.
It is also important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic and beyond. The Let’s Talk Loneliness website also has a variety of tips, advice and further resources that you may find helpful.
If you or someone you care for experiences a mental health crisis, we urge you to make contact with a local health professional immediately. NHS Mental Health Trusts have established 24/7 telephone lines to support people of all ages to get the help they need, when they need it.
Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit. They should continue to follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.
You can also access additional support from your energy supplier. Energy suppliers are required by the regulator, Ofgem, to hold a register of customers in a vulnerable circumstance, called a Priority Service Register. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you can be added to this register. For information about how to be added to the register and the additional services your supplier can provide you, please visit Ofgem’s website.
Telecom providers are also required by their regulator, Ofcom, to support their vulnerable customers. For information about the additional services your supplier may be able to provide you as a vulnerable customer, please visit Ofcom’s website.
If you are struggling as a result of Coronavirus please visit www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support or contact your local council to find out what support is available
What support is available?
In Newcastle our CityLife Line service is on hand to provide support, guidance, and assistance.
To help you with what support you may need please complete this online form or call our Helpline 0800 170 7001.
Someone from our dedicated Welfare and Wellbeing Team will call you back within 24 hours to talk you through any concerns you have.
Our Welfare and Wellbeing Team are available from Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.
You can also request support from the Government website.
A list of services providing support across Newcastle is available on the on Information Now website.