Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
Updated 13 October 2020
Who this guidance is for
This guidance is for everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.
This guidance has been updated to support the clinically extremely vulnerable in protecting themselves from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). It replaces previous guidance on shielding. The guidance is set out in 2 parts:
- Updated advice on protecting the clinically extremely vulnerable, based on the local COVID alert level in your area. This advice is less restrictive than previous shielding advice.
- Updated shielding advice that is more targeted and will only apply in some of the worst affected areas and only for a limited period of time. You are only advised to follow shielding advice if you receive a new written shielding notification.
For further information click on this link: Government latest guidance around shielding
COVID TESTS – NOT AVAILABLE AT THE PRACTICE
Tests should only be arranged if you have symptoms of COVID. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange a test by visiting NHS.UK, or contact 119 via telephone if you do not have internet access.
There are 2 walk in testing sites for North Kirklees residents which are open 7 days per week, 8am til 8pm, located at:
Savile Town – UK Greetings rear car park, Wharf Street, Savile Town, Dewsbury, WF12 9AS
Ravensthorpe – Ravensthorpe KHN (Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing), Queens Street, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, WF13 3BT
THE PRACTICE IS NOT A TESTING SITE, PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT US TO ARRANGE YOUR COVID TEST, THIS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Face coverings/masks and exemptions
Following the government announcement indicating that face coverings/masks are mandatory (by law) to be worn in shops and supermarkets from July 24th 2020 in England, Undercliffe Surgery wanted to make all patients aware that we are not responsible for providing exemption letters/certificates. We therefore respectfully request that patients do not contact the practice asking for an exemption letter/certificate, as refusal often offends.
The government website ( Face Masks/Coverings government advice ) currently states the following in terms of exemptions:
Exemptions to wearing a face covering where they are mandated
In settings where face coverings are mandated in England, there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings in these settings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings.
It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although employers should consider recommending their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place. For example, there will be times when screens or visors are in use, or when a staff member is not in close proximity to people they do not normally meet, and so wearing a covering for staff will not be necessary. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
- If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
- If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.
Please click this link for details on how to apply for this test: Coronavirus Test
You can also call 119 to arrange for a test if you are unable to use the internet to apply for your test.
NHS Test & Trace
Appointments at the Surgery
Please be advised that ALL patients who are directed to attend the surgery for a face to face appointment will now have their temperature checked to ensure it is below 37.8C, will be instructed that they MUST wear a face mask/face covering before entering the building and use the alcohol gel provided upon entry and exit of the building. Please click on this link for instructions on how to make your own face covering: How to wear and make your own face covering
Health at home
Domestic abuse: how to get help Click here for information on help around domestic abuse
REQUESTS FOR CERTIFICATION OF ABSENCE/SICK NOTES
Requests for certification of absence from the workplace relating to covid-19 may fall into five categories:
1. Symptomatic so isolating for seven days
Patients can and should self-certify for the first seven days as normal if they are unfit to work. They do not need to contact their GP.
2. Symptomatic and remaining unwell for over seven days
If they remain unwell and unfit to work after seven days, the current advice is to visit www.111.nhs.uk where there is an online self-assessment tool which should be up and running soon. They do not need to contact their GP for a certificate but you can advise patients to use the template form below.
3. Household contact symptoms so isolating for fourteen days as per government advice
GPs cannot and are not the gatekeeper of the statutory sick pay system and can only provide certificates for the purpose of illness, not in relation to government advice regarding self-isolation. Employers are responsible for putting in place arrangements for home/remote working where this is possible. Where it is not, the employee may self-certify and return to work following the relevant absence which their employer may authorise as per government advice.
4. At risk group so following government advice
Where they do become unwell during or after this time, point 1 and 2 applies. They do not need to contact their GP.
5. Those in full time education who are symptomatic or requiring self-isolation.
There is no NHS requirement to issue certification to schools or colleges to confirm absence. These organisations must work with parents and students to ensure that any absence is appropriately recorded, obviating the need for a ‘doctor’s note’. They do not need to contact their GP.
The current Government Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) states;
“By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, employers may use their discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee is staying at home.
We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home either as they are unwell themselves, or live with someone who is, in accordance with the public health advices issued by the government.”
Until further guidance is available, Undercliffe Surgery have provided the attached letter (see link below) to their website and requests that if needed by patients they use this letter as the practice will not provide a medical certificate for patients requiring self-isolation for coronavirus. COVID-19 patient medical statement March 2020
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 23.03.2020
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL FACE TO FACE APPOINTMENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
DO NOT ATTEND THE SURGERY UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY TOLD TO DO SO BY A CLINICAN OR MEMBER OF OUR PATIENT LIAISON TEAM
IF YOU NORMALLY COLLECT YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS, ANY REQUESTED BEFORE SATURDAY 21ST MARCH 2020 WILL BE POSTED TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS – DO NOT ATTEND THE SURGERY TO COLLECT THESE.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE A NOMINATED PHARMACY FOR ALL FUTURE PRESCRIPTION REQUESTS
DO NOT ATTEND THE SURGERY TO COLLECT, SICK NOTES, LETTERS ETC, THESE WILL BE POSTED TO YOUR HOME ADDRESS
CONTACT THE SURGERY BY TELEPHONE ON 01924 403406 TO BOOK A TELEPHONE CONSULTATION IF YOU REQUIRE MEDICAL ADVICE
Update 07.04.2020 – Government advice and frequently asked questions on shielding
Please click on the link to access information for patients on caring for people at highest clinical risk from COVID-19. This information relates specifically to people identified by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer as being extremely clinically vulnerable to, or at highest clinical risk from, COVID-19. Most people that are within this group will have already received a letter through the post. However, the process for identifying additional people who meet the clinical criteria but have not been identified through the initial central process is continuing. People identified through this process will receive a letter shortly, direct from the Government. Caring for people at Highest Clinical Risk from COVID-19-FAQs-Patients-vFINAL
Message from Mid-Yorks NHS Trust: Cancer and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The link above provides advice and information from the NHS and GOV.UK.
The new coronavirus disease, called COVID-19, is at the forefront of many people’s minds. We understand that people with cancer and their families may feel especially worried about coronavirus. People with cancer are at a higher risk of complications – cancer treatment can weaken immune systems and lower your ability to fight infection.
Advice for patients with cancer
You may be worried about how coronavirus will affect you if you have cancer. Every person is different and cancer patients who finished treatment a few years ago or longer will most likely have immune systems that have recovered. It is important to note that whether or not you are currently being treated you should follow the advice of your healthcare team.
The www.gov.uk and the NHS website have the latest advice about coronavirus to help you reduce the risk of getting coronavirus. You should also follow the NHS advice if your relative or friend is having or has recently had cancer treatment or if a relative or friend has a lower ability to fight infection.
If you are experiencing symptoms
If you are currently experiencing symptoms of infection (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) or are aware you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and you are receiving chemotherapy, please call:
Oncology 24 hour helpline: 01924 546272
If you have questions about your chemotherapy treatment or appointments please call one of the chemotherapy units:
PONTEFRACT CHEMOTHERAPY UNIT – 01977 747130
DEWSBURY CHEMOTHERAPY UNIT – 01924 542244
PINDERFIELDS CHEMOTHERAPY UNIT – currently closed
For any other enquiries please call the CANCER HELPLINE available every day from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Coronavirus infection and pregnancy
Dedicated COVID-19 telephone line
- The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Maternity Service has set up a dedicated COVID-19 telephone line for pregnant women and their partners, and new parents.
Calls will be answered by an experienced community midwife between the hours of 10am-12:30pm and 2pm-4.30pm Monday to Friday (including bank holidays).
The number is: 01977 747433.
20th April 2020: New web page from the Government
Click the following link Government Support to find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Use this service to find out what help you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus. You can use it for yourself or someone else.
You can find information about:
- feeling unsafe
- going in to work
- paying bills or being unemployed
- getting food
- having somewhere to live
- mental health and wellbeing
You will not get direct support from the government or organisations through this service.
Please click this link for details on: 24 hour mental health helpline
Due to the coronavirus pandemic training processes have been amended to reflect implemented safety measures.
Previously trainee GP’s would video record their face to face consultations which would be reviewed with their trainers. As we are now offering telephone consultations the trainee GP’s will now be assessed on recordings of these calls.
We have been recording telephone calls for several years following an upgrade to our telephone system. All recordings are kept securely on our server and do not leave the building. The recordings used for this assessment will be shared with our on-site trainers and those at the local and national training programme.
Patients can decline this recording and will be booked in with an alternative clinician.