NHS Scotland is currently working to identify and help proactively manage patients who are at particularly high risk of severe morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.
This group has been identified, based on expert consensus, and include the following categories:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell disease)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection or who have had their spleens removed
- People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
- People who are receiving renal dialysis treatment
People identified as being in these groups are being sent a letter with advice on how to protect themselves and access the care and treatment they need during this time. (you can find the letter attached below for info).
A new national helpline is being set up to provide essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
The helpline – 0800 111 4000 – will initially operate during core working hours of 09:00 to 17:00 while plans are developed and implemented to extend it to operate for a longer period each day.
To read more about who can access the helpline, and what help they can offer, you can visit the Scottish Government website.
From 8th June, those on the Government’s “shielding” list will start to receive an update letter from the Scottish Government.
This letter informs patients that while at this time they cannot give them an exact date for when shielding will end, over the summer, they will be working on ways to help them make informed decisions based on their individual circumstances, needs, and the risk of catching the virus in their local community.
Patients are being asked to continue to shield until 31 July. This position will be reviewed in July and any further changes will depend on the progress made in managing the spread of the virus across Scotland.
A copy of this letter is linked below: