Shielded patients are individuals who, because of existing medical conditions, are “extremely vulnerable”. They need to take extra precautions, such as staying at home at all times, and staying at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in their homes wherever possible. The “extremely vulnerable” shielded group include people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
If you are a shielded patient you will have received a letter from the NHS stating this. If you think you may be in the group of patients that are shielded but you’ve not received a letter from the NHS, please call your GP to check.
If you or someone you know is in the “extremely vulnerable” group please look at the NHS website or phone your local pharmacy for advice if you are unsure about the steps you need to take to keep you or your loved ones safe. For information on the difference between shielding, social distancing, and self-isolation, read here.
The NHS has written to 1.5 million ‘shielded’ patients with advice about how to have you medicines delivered to you. This could be by your medicines being collected and delivered by friends or family, or by a volunteer or if neither of these are possible by the pharmacy.
NHS England has just launched (9th April) a new NHS Medicines Delivery Service from community pharmacies for pharmacies to help patients that are in this “extremely vulnerable” shielded group get their medicines delivered to their home.
If you are in this group and have no one else to help you get your medicines, such as a friend, family or volunteer, your local pharmacy will be able to help. Please phone your local pharmacy and tell them you are a shielded patient and need help getting your medicines delivered because you don’t have anyone else including a volunteer who is able to collect the medicines for you.
In addition, if you have run out of your usual medicines there is another NHS pharmacy service called the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) that can help. The NHS 111 Online service can now make referrals to community pharmacies via this CPCS service where people need urgent access to their usual prescribed medicines. The NHS 111 advises to use this emergency prescriptions service ‘if you’ve completely run out of medicine you’re prescribed regularly’ and ‘if you need medicine and you are also feeling unwell, call 111 and speak to an advisor.’