Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people during national restrictions

Those residents who have been identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should have received a letter advising them of government guidance. 

Alongside our partners, we’re committed to supporting all of the residents of Doncaster, particularly those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to ensure no-one is disadvantaged through the pandemic. 

We know these are difficult times, so if you feel like you need a little extra support but have no one around to help then please get in touch with us! 

You can call our helpline Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 5pm on 01302 430300 

Outside of these hours there will be a limited service for emergency situations only. 

If you haven’t done it yet, we’d encourage you to register on the national shielding system where you can get access to priority supermarket slots or register other support needs.  

The NHS Volunteer Responders may also be able to help with things like shopping or other practical support.

These frequently asked questions are provided for people who are considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV):

General questions

What is the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people currently?

On 2 December the country moved back to a tiered system of local restrictions. Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people linked to these tiers has been reinstated.

This guidance offers additional advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable over and above the rules for the tiers, which apply to everyone. This guidance aims to strike a better balance between providing practical steps to help keep you safe while reducing some of the potentially harmful impacts on mental and social wellbeing that were associated with previous strict shielding. It sets out the steps clinically extremely vulnerable people can take to protect themselves for each local tier.

In the future, the government will only reintroduce formal shielding advice in the very worst affected local areas and for a limited period of time. This will only apply to some, but not all, Tier 3 areas and will be based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer. The government will write to you separately to inform you if you are advised to shield. You are not advised to follow formal shielding advice again unless you receive a new shielding notification advising you to do so.

Advice for Tier 3

Socialising inside and outside the home

The rules at Tier 3: Very high apply to everyone and state that you can only meet friends and family who are not in your household or support bubble in certain outdoor public spaces. You can find a list of these places in the Tier 3: Very high guidance.

At Tier 3: Very high, we still advise clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to go outside for exercise, but to avoid busy areas to minimise the chance of coming into close contact with others. Otherwise, we advise you to stay at home as much as possible.

You may want to maintain social distance within your household if practical.

Work and education

As a general principle, working from home reduces the chance of you being exposed to the virus.

Where possible you are advised to work from home, because the rate of transmission of the virus in your area may be very high.

If you cannot work from home, and are concerned about going into work, you may want to speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily (for example, to avoid travelling in rush hour).

If there is no alternative, you can still go to work. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work.

Where some employers are not managing the risk of coronavirus, the Health and Safety Executive 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.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work you can raise them with your workplace union, the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of March 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.

Travel

At Tier 3: Very high, everyone may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, as well as for work or to access education. However, everyone should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make and should avoid travel into or out of a Tier 3 area.

In general, we advise clinically extremely vulnerable people to stay at home as much as possible.

Going to shops and pharmacies

You are advised to significantly reduce your shopping trips including to pharmacies. Where possible, you should consider shopping online. If you do need to go to the shops, try to do so at quieter times and maintain strict social distancing.

You are advised to ask people in your household or support bubble to collect food and medicines for you. If you need more help with accessing food or medicines, NHS Volunteer Responders are still available to assist you.

You can register to request access to priority supermarket deliveries, if you do not have someone you can rely on to go shopping for you. If you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you will keep them. When registering you will be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Registering on the site just gives you priority. It does not mean you’ll definitely get a delivery slot. If you want priority supermarket deliveries, you will also need to set up an account with at least one supermarket and book slots yourself.

If you require additional care and support

You should continue to receive care at home, either from professional social care and medical professionals, or from friends and family within your support bubble.

You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.

If you need other forms of help, including support to register for priority supermarket deliveries, you should contact your local council directly. Find out how your local council can help.

 

Further general advice for those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable can be found on the Government's website here

Why are you not reintroducing full shielding as in March?

The new National Restrictions guidance announced on 31 October will protect everyone, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).

We are introducing additional advice and support for CEV people to help further protect them. Whilst this does not go as far as previous shielding guidance, it does contain similar protections and support.

Previous shielding advice introduced in March helped protect those most at risk from COVID-19, but many people told us they found this advice very restrictive. We have therefore made measured relaxations to the advice, such as advising CEV people to continue to go outside for exercise.

The full new guidance for CEV people is published on the Gov.UK website. Translations and accessible formats of this guidance will also be made available in the coming days.

How is this different to Shielding in March?

We know that during the first period of national shielding between March and July, many people found the advice very restrictive. The new guidance acknowledges this and provides practical steps to help keep you safe while reducing some of the potentially harmful impacts on mental and social wellbeing of previous shielding guidance.

While we are 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.

There is also no need for self-isolation within your household, although you are advised to social distance where possible and follow the guidance of ‘Hands. Face. Space’

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 groups for more details.

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 you be writing to CEV people?

Yes, we will 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?

Yes. 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 www.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?

No. 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?

The government still advises clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to go outside for exercise, but to avoid busy areas to minimise the chance of coming into close contact with others. Otherwise, we advise you to stay at home as much as possible.

You should also follow the guidance of ‘Hands. Face. Space’.

You are advised to significantly reduce your shopping trips including to pharmacies. Where possible, you should consider shopping online. If you do need to go to the shops, try to do so at quieter times and maintain strict social distancing.

You are advised to ask people in your household or support bubble to collect food and medicines for you. If you need more help with accessing food or medicines, NHS Volunteer Responders are still available to assist you.

You can register to request access to priority supermarket deliveries, if you do not have someone you can rely on to go shopping for you. If you have already got priority supermarket deliveries, you will keep them. When registering you will be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Registering on the site just gives you priority. It does not mean you’ll definitely get a delivery slot. If you want priority supermarket deliveries, you will also need to set up an account with at least one supermarket and book slots yourself.

Do children have to go to school?

All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings at all local tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or other NHS care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting. Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should also continue to attend education settings.

 

Can I look after my grandchildren?

You are advised to minimise all social interactions, including providing childcare, even if part of a childcare bubble.

Are you adding new groups to the shielded patient list?

The shielded patient list is monitored regularly, and if scientific evidence shows that other groups face a very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 then they would be added to the shielded patient list and informed of this.

Based on the latest evidence, we are adding adults with Down’s syndrome and all those with chronic kidney disease (stage 5) to the shielded patient list. will receive a letter from the NHS informing them that they have been added to the Shielded Patient List. Their GP or clinician should also contact them.

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

Yes, you are encouraged to continue to exercise outside because of the health benefits that this brings. You can go out for as long and as often as you wish, although you are generally advised to stay at home as much as possible.

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 a short distance to exercise if this is necessary

Support offer

What support will be offered to CEV people?

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 your local council.

Councils are being given funding to provide support to those Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who need it. This can include help with shopping, securing a priority supermarket delivery slot, or signposting 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 2 December, 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 2 December and that you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA), provided other eligibility criteria are also met.   

How will CEV people be able to access support?

CEV people 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.  

Find out what help you is available from your local council at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help

What food support is available for CEV people?

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. There is no longer a national food box scheme. 

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 CEV people access priority supermarket slots?

7 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 are CEV people no longer receiving a food box

Government will not be re-introducing nationally provided food parcels. We have moved to the locally-led support model which recognises that councils are best placed to assess and meet CEV people’s 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, Doncaster 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?

Local councils are being given funding to provide support to those Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who need it. This may include signposting you to local support or befriending services, or linking you up with volunteers who can help collect essential deliveries for you.  

If you need to register your needs by phone, or have an urgent need, you should contact your local council directly. Find out what help you might be able to get from your local council at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help.  

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 CEV people go to work?

As a general principle, working from home reduces the chance of you being exposed to the virus.

Where possible you are advised to work from home, because the rate of transmission of the virus in your area may be very high.

If you cannot work from home, and are concerned about going into work, you may want to speak to your employer about taking on an alternative role or change your working patterns temporarily (for example, to avoid travelling in rush hour).

If there is no alternative, you can still go to work. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work.

Where some employers are not managing the risk of coronavirus, the Health and Safety Executive 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.

If you have concerns about your health and safety at work you can raise them with your workplace union, the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of March 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.

Is it safe for people who live with CEV people 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 CEV people 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 2 December 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 ESA. 

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 CEV people who cannot work from home?

The Government recognises the continued impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the self-employed and has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

Health

How can CEV people 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 CEV people 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 these national restrictions?

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 the national restrictions?

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

Landlords must provide a 6 month notice of evictions for all but the most egregious cases. Furthermore, no bailiff enforcement will occur during the national restrictions, in line with the existing position for tier 2 and 3 Local COVID Alert Levels.  

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?

All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings at all local tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or other NHS care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting. Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should also continue to attend education settings.

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.

I am CEV, should my child go to school?

Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.

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

No. 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 2 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 from 5 November.

Are CEV people safe to send their 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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Last updated: 02 December 2020 00:01:33