New guidance for transplant and respiratory patients asks them to stay at home for 12 weeks

People who have been identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19) will be sent a letter asking them to stay at home for 12 weeks in order to protect themselves. People in this high-risk group are considered extremely vulnerable due to their serious and long-term health conditions, they include:

  • Heart and lung transplant recipients

  • People with severe respiratory conditions, including all types of cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, interstitial lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

Our patients who fall into one of these categories should expect to receive the letter from NHS England, followed by text and phone call, by Sunday 29 March 2020. The letter will outline the steps they should take to keep themselves safe, which include new social shielding measures to minimise all interaction between them and others and therefore the possibility of coming into contact with coronavirus. This means that they:

  • Stay at home at all times for 12 weeks from the day they receive the letter

  • Avoid all face-to-face contact and gatherings, including in private spaces

  • Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication delivered, these should be left at the door

  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.

People who will need to follow social shielding measures and may require help with food and shopping deliveries or other additional care, can register for government support on Read government guidance on social shielding in full.

Many of our patients will have been contacted by the clinical team involved in their care to notify them of any changes to existing appointments, planned procedures or tests, and information relating to their specific condition in light of the current situation.    

If you are a heart or lung transplant patient at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, please read our frequently asked questions page on coronavirus, which we will continue to update if guidance changes.

If you think you fall into one of the categories of extremely vulnerable people and have any concerns, please contact your GP or check the web pages relevant to your condition for further information, which will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Further information about coronavirus is available on and the NHS website.

Other useful resources:

The British Lung Foundation
The British Heart Foundation