Updated 3 July 2020
On 22 June the government announced a series of steps to their guidance on social shielding for those who are at high risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The new guidance will come into effect on 6 July and 1 August. The full guidance can be found here. This guidance remains advisory.
From 6 July, the government will be advising:
- you may, if you wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing
- you no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household
- in line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) in the general population, you may from this date, if you wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.
From 1 August, the government will be advising that shielding will be paused and advising you to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble. In practice this means that from 1 August:
- you can go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-safe
- children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing
- you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but you should maintain strict social distancing
- you should remain cautious as you are still at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if you do go out, follow strict social distancing.
The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable group remains advisory. More detailed advice will be updated in this guidance as the changes in advice come into effect on 6 July and 1 August.
If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new, continuous cough and/or high temperature (above 37.8 °C) seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 coronavirus service or call NHS 111 if you need to speak to someone.
Carers and support workers who come to your home
Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit, unless they have symptoms of coronavirus. All visitors should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, on arrival and often.
If you need help with care, including food and shopping deliveries, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable and register.
Medicines you routinely take
The government is helping pharmacies to deliver prescriptions. Prescriptions will continue to cover the same length of time as usual. If you do not currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you can arrange this by
- Asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy (this is the best option, if possible)
- Contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) or deliver it to you.
Homecare delivery of your PH medications will continue unchanged
Looking after your mental well-being
We understand that social isolation, reduction in physical activity, unpredictability and changes in routine can be frustrating and stressful. Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice on taking care of your mental health and Mind has useful information to help you cope if you are feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus. The PHA UK website also has great resources and tools you can use to manage your emotional and physical well-being, including recommendations for breathing and general exercises that can be done at home.
Planned hospital appointments
Although we will have to change our practice during this time we will continue to support our patients as we are able. However, in order to protect patients and staff we have:
- All routine face-to-face consultations have been cancelled and replaced with a telephone consultation or postponed to a later date
- Patients who cannot be managed by alternative (digital) means will be seen at Royal Brompton or Harefield hospitals, or another London specialist hospital, depending on clinical need and hospital capacity. We will be able to manage patients with urgent issues
- Multidisciplinary team meetings will continue and focus on new referrals that need urgent treatment or current patients who are unwell.
Queries and support
For any further queries or advice, please contact us via email or telephone on 020 7351 2156. Please be aware that we are receiving a large volume of calls and emails but will aim to reply as soon as possible. Please do not contact the hospital unless absolutely necessary.
We fully appreciate this is a period of great anxiety and uncertainty for everyone and we know you will have questions and concerns. We will continue to communicate with and support our patients and their families, so please check our website on a regular basis for the latest updates and information.
Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK (PHA UK): www.phauk.org/coronavirus-pulmonary-hypertension