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11 April 2020 briefing - Shielded Patient Letters

CEM_COM_2020_016 (1).pdf

I’m sorry we’ve had to resort to sending out a very short update today but we wanted to reassure you all about the shielded patients letters and the deadline sent out by NHSE yesterday. (Just in case you haven’t seen it I’ve attached a copy but this is the same copy that was sent by CAS alert yesterday so if you’ve seen it you don’t need to open this again). GPC have kindly produced a much shorter summary (below) which may help you process these letters more easily and we hope you find this helpful,


The LMC/GPTF/GP Alliance view is that the response from practices would have been far more positive had they worded the communications along these lines:

The issue of shielded patient notification has proved far more complex than we originally envisaged. We appreciate that there has been a delay in getting the process for the final group (previously group 4) sorted out and communicated to patients and practices. We do understand that this has contributed to practices receiving a significant number of queries from concerned patients and we apologise for the delays and this extra work. The issues are now largely resolved and we are keen to try and notify the patients as soon as possible to enable them to access additional support where required. The process is laid out below and we would really appreciate if you could aim to have these completed within the timescales indicated. Any additional staff costs that you incur as a result of bringing in extra staff to complete this task will be reimbursable through the COVID-19 payments mechanisms.

Thank you for your support.

Our view is that while we all agree that this task needs to be done to reassure patients and reduce the number of queries you are dealing with, to impose arbitrarily short deadlines over a (now non-BH) weekend is counter-productive. We would simply ask you to make best effort but balance this against your wellbeing needs to actually get some downtime over the weekend. This point has been made most strongly nationally by GPC to NHSE and locally we have confidence that the CCG will be pragmatic and supportive to any practices that don’t meet the deadline.


GPC Summary

Shielded list 

1. Check you have recvd the refined list of patients with codes applied from suppliers; circa 200 patients for an average sized practice. 

2. Give it a quick scan, get extra staff in and claim as COVID 19 related expenses if needed. 

3. add/take people off that you think do or don’t qualify. 

4. Goal is to ensure as many patients as possible & most appropriate patients can access the gov support offer. 

5. The sooner flags are applied the faster individuals can be offered shielding support. 

6. The task needs to be completed as soon as possible and by no later than 17:00 on Tuesday 14 April.

7. The deadline is important for the support offer to be put in place. But you can only do what you can do in the limited time you have with the limited resources you have.

Patients who self identified through Cabinet office site

1. You’ll get a second list of patients, comprised of those that self identified (total list is 150,000), circa 20 odd for average sized practices. 

2. These patients will need a review to see if they fit the criteria for shielding. 

3. If you think they fit the criteria, add the code to their record. 

4. Every time you add a patient to the shielded group, send them a shielding letter. 

5. Once the patient gets a flag added they get added to the central register, at which point they have a fail safe where another shielding letter gets sent out.

6. This work can commence after 17th April. The task will need to be completed by 17:00 on Monday 20th April.

Outside of these two distinct groups of patients, If you feel through your own proactive searches of high risk groups that someone is missing and should get added, add them. 

As a principle, every time you add a patient to the shielded group, send them a shielding letter. NHS Digital will pull the details of these flags from GP IT systems weekly. Once this has happened these individuals will be able to access the government’s shielding support offer (which they may have already registered for). There will be a lag in processing this information and if in the meantime any of these patients require urgent help they should contact their local authority.


If you have any questions, please contact the NHS Digital Shielded Patients List Hub: splquery@nhs.net. This mailbox will be monitored and responses provided asap throughout the Easter period.