Information for self-isolation and shielding for patients with medical problems

We have received a large number of enquiries regarding letters to patients who are high-risk of severe illness from coronavirus. There is a national “list” of patients who are medically vulnerable and therefore should be “shielded”. We hope to add some clarity to this:

There are two levels of self-protection being talked about:

Social Distancing

  • We are all being advised to social distance.
  • This is particularly important for certain individuals: this group (known as category a patients) includes anyone who is over 70, and any adult under 70 who receives a free yearly nhs flu jab for medical reasons. You can find more information on the Government website:
  • For this group, there are no additional measures beyond you being aware of the importance of self-isolation.
  • This group will not receive a letter advising them to shield or practice self-distancing. You should already know who you are on the basis of public broadcast messages.


  • There is a subset of patients within category A who have been identified as particularly vulnerable to problems if they get coronavirus because of their medical conditions.
  • This group are referred to as CATEGORY B & C PATIENTS. (Category B & C patients only differ in where their names were obtained from; this is not relevant to how they are advised or treated).
  • Patients in category B &C are subject to particularly stringent measures known as This group of people should receive a letter from NHS England advising them that they must shield.
  • If you are shielding, you should stay at home at all times for a period of at least 12 weeks. Avoid going out for food and medicine. Ask a friend, neighbour, or family member to bring your supplies where possible. More information can be found on the Government website.. You can ask for help from volunteers on the Buckinghamshire website..
  • This group will need assistance from society to manage over the coming weeks (e.g. priority food deliveries) so councils are creating a database of these people so key services know.
  • You cannot decide for yourself to be on the list of category B or C patients needing shielding. It is decided on the basis of certain medical conditions and medicines identified by detailed searches in hospitals, GP practices, and other NHS specialists centres. Please note: not everyone has yet been identified, so more people may still get a letter.

If you think you have a condition which means you should be shielded but you have not yet been written to, you (or your carer) can self-report using the Government website. . You do not need to ask your GP to do it for you.

Regardless of whether or not you are on the shielded list, if you still staying at home due to coronavirus and need help, you can ask for help from volunteers on the Buckinhamshire website..

If you have received a letter saying you need to be shielded and you have medical problems that are not currently being addressed, please contact us.

As a practice we are unable to:

  • Put in “special requests” for shielding for patients who do not meet the medical criteria.
  • Write individual letters for patients.
  • Provide “sick notes” for patients who are isolating. Isolation notes can be requested through
  • Provide letters to employers regarding home working advice. Employers should follow Government advice or consult their occupational health department.
  • Prescribe more than one month of medication in one go.
  • Prescribe more than one month of medication in one go.

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