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Protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Last Updated 7:00am, 5 November 2020


Introduction

Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

New national restrictions

New national restrictions now apply to England. The government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 and how to access further support while the new restrictions are in place. 

If you receive a letter it is because you have been identified as at high risk of becoming very unwell if you catch COVID-19, and you are strongly advised to follow the extra precautionary steps to help keep yourself safe.

Work

You are strongly advised to work from home. 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).

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.

Other people you live with who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves 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.

Socialising

You are advised to stay at home as much as possible.

However, unlike the very restrictive shielding guidance you may have followed earlier this year, you may now go outside to exercise or visit an outdoor public place with the people you live with or your support bubble.

Try to keep all contact with others outside of your household to a minimum and avoid busy areas.

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.

It is important that you continue to maintain strict social distancing, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

Travel

You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport, this includes not travelling to work, school or the shops.

You should still travel to hospital and GP appointments unless told otherwise by your doctor.

If you need help to travel to an appointment, you can speak to your health care professional to arrange transport support. They can arrange this with NHS Volunteer Responders.

Education settings

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 clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school while this advice is in place. Your school will make appropriate arrangements for you to be able to continue your education at home. Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.

Shopping for food and household essentials

You are advised not to go to the shops. Please use online shopping if you can, or ask friends, family or neighbours to collect and deliver shopping for you. The government food parcel scheme is not operating during this lockdown period.

If you already have a priority delivery slot with a supermarket that will continue, you do not need to do anything further. If you need to request access to a priority supermarket delivery slot please register on the government’s website. You’ll be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Volunteer community groups, local charities and organisations are also available to help in Devon. You can search for details on the Pinpoint Devon website.

NHS Volunteer Responders are on hand to help with shopping for food and essential items, and to collect and deliver prescriptions from the pharmacy. They also offer regular friendly phone calls, either with someone else who has previously been advised to shield or with different volunteers and transport to medical appointments. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders website.

If you need urgent help but don’t have any family, friends or neighbours to ask and are not receiving support directly from a community group or local organisation, you can contact your local district council. They each have individual helplines or customer service centres set up to make it easier for you to get help with things like deliveries of essential food, household supplies and medicine as well as extra care and social contact.

Depending on what you need, they will be able to help you organise support through either an NHS Volunteer Responder or a local community group. You can also call them to raise concerns about someone in your community who you think needs help.

District Council helplines:

  • East Devon District Council: 01404 515616
  • Exeter City Council: 01392 265000
  • Mid Devon District Council: 01884 234387
  • North Devon Council: 01271 388280
  • South Hams District Council: 01803 861297
  • Teignbridge District Council: 01626 361101
  • Torridge District Council: 01237 428700
  • West Devon Borough Council: 01822 813683

Emergency financial support is also available for those who need short term help to afford to pay for basic household essentials.

There are also a number of foodbanks and community larders in Devon that provide emergency food and support to individuals and families. Find what food support is available near you on the Pinpoint Devon website

The Community Insights Team at Devon Community Foundation is available to advise and assist with accessing food banks. Email insights@devoncf.com or call 07923 230969.

Medicines

You are advised not to go to a pharmacy. Please ask friends, family or neighbours to collect your medicines for you.

Volunteer community groups, local charities and organisations are also available to help in Devon. You can search for details on the Pinpoint Devon website.

NHS Volunteer Responders are also on hand to help with collecting and delivering prescriptions from the pharmacy. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders website.

If you don’t have anyone who can collect your medicines for you, 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.

Please remember that the NHS is open, and you are encouraged to continue to access all the NHS services that you need. It is safer for you to use the NHS than to try to manage alone.

You should continue to seek support from the NHS for your existing health conditions and any new 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 the NHS Health at Home website, or download the NHS App.

If you have an urgent medical need, call NHS 111 or, for a medical emergency, dial 999.

If you do need to receive care in person, you can. Your local NHS services are well prepared and will put in measures to keep you safe.

It is also really 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. 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.

Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs, or those of a child or young person in your care, can continue to visit. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.

If you need additional support, community groups, charities and local organisations are available in Devon. You can find their details on the Pinpoint Devon website.

As well as helping with shopping and medicines delivery, NHS Volunteer Responders can help with a regular, friendly phone call, either with someone else who has previously been advised to shield or with different volunteers and transport to medical appointments. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders website.

Registering for support

If you need support, please register yourself on the government’s website. You can also register on behalf of someone else.

You’ll be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription.

Once registered you will be able to:

  • Request access to a priority supermarket delivery slot if you don’t already have one
  • Tell us that you need support that can’t be provided by friends, family or other support networks
  • Make sure you details, such as your address, are up to date

If you need to register your needs by phone, or have an urgent support need, please call your local District Council:

  • East Devon District Council: 01404 515616
  • Exeter City Council: 01392 265000
  • Mid Devon District Council: 01884 234387
  • North Devon Council: 01271 388280
  • South Hams District Council: 01803 861297
  • Teignbridge District Council: 01626 215512
  • Torridge District Council: 01237 428700
  • West Devon Borough Council: 01822 813683

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