Why have I received this letter?
NHS England had used a risk assessment tool called QCOVID to calculate peoples risk of getting COVID. This is a complex tool that looks at a variety of different factors to assess peoples’ risk. Because you have received this letter, you are one of the patients identified by the tool as being at high risk if you were to get COVID. You can see all the information your GP received in the Letter to GPs on Risk Tool from the Department of Health and Social Care.
What in my medical records has caused me to be added to this list?
Unfortunately, your GP surgery has no current way of replicating the analysis that has been done by NHS Digital and so we are unable to tell you why you have been added to this list. This situation may change over time, but we have no way of knowing when.
What should I do now? Should I go to work? Should I go out?
You should follow the advice detailed on the ‘Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19’ page on the Gov.uk website. This will mean that you need to take extra measures above and beyond those which you probably have been taking. The guidance covers:
- Social activities
- Educational settings
- Accessing care and support
- Registering for additional support
You may be eligible for additional support and should be able to receive statutory sick pay for time off from work.
What about vaccination?
If you are under 65 you should be prioritised for vaccination ahead of others in cohort 6 which is people who are at risk because of a variety of medical conditions. If you are over 65 you will have already been in group 5, so this won’t affect the priority with which you’re given the vaccine.
What if I think they’ve added me incorrectly?
At the moment, the best way to review this is through discussion with your GP. Please bear in mind that GPs are incredibly busy at the moment vaccinating patients as well as trying to provide as normal a service to patients as possible. Because of this it may not be possible to immediately deal with enquiries about this and you may be asked to submit your details in an online form.
Do I have to follow this guidance?
Patients at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection are strongly encouraged to follow shielding guidance. However, this is advice, and not the law. Patients can choose whether or not they want to follow it.
Why on earth am I only now being identified as high risk?
This tool has only just been approved for use in assessing patients risk of COVID 19. Until now we haven’t had sufficient scientific evidence to run population-based tools that can accurately assess peoples risk of developing COVID.