Thousands more high-risk patients advised to shield from coronavirus

An extra 21,000 people in Wales deemed to be at particular risk from Covid-19 will be contacted this week and asked to shield following a refinement of the medical criteria.

These people will be advised to severely limit social contact and stay at home until at least mid-June.

Wrexham’s Member of the Senedd, Lesley Griffiths has welcomed the latest Welsh Government announcement and believes it will reassure more local residents during this challenging period.

The majority of those who will receive the letter are within the high-risk categories already identified.  The Welsh Government has stated the list of high-risk conditions is under constant review and follows the latest scientific and medical advice to ensure everyone who needs to be shielding has been identified and contacted.

All those identified as being at high-risk of severe illness from coronavirus received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales – this is known as a ‘shielding letter’.

The letter advises people to self-isolate at home until at least 15 June 2020 and contains a range of further information and advice, including how those who have no-one else to support them can get medication and other essential items such as food.

To ensure all high-risk patients were contacted, GPs and hospital doctors have been provided with a list of those who have been sent letters to check against their known patients.  They can contact any additional high-risk people who may not have been identified to ensure they also receive the advice in the letters from the Chief Medical Officer.

After welcoming the latest announcement, Lesley Griffiths MS hopes the message is received in Wrexham as she is mindful residents and certain GP surgeries remain unaware of the latest Covid-19 guidance.

She said: “From the beginning of this pandemic, the Welsh Government stated all those at high-risk from coronavirus and considered to be extremely vulnerable would be written to and asked to shield.  This information would be shared with GPs who would ultimately have the authority to make judgement calls on their own patients and add them to the list if deemed necessary.”

“Many constituents have contacted me for guidance in recent weeks as it unfortunately seems the message has still not got through to all GP surgeries in Wrexham, with some telling patients they have no knowledge of the shielding list and do not have the authority to amend it.”

“This is not true as demonstrated by the latest figures that show GPs across Wales have added over 10,000 patients to the shielding list.”

“If you believe you are at high-risk from coronavirus and meet the criteria for shielding as outlined by the latest medical expertise, I would encourage you to speak to your GP urgently.”

The advice set out by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales is not compulsory but medical experts strongly recommend those identified follow the guidance.

As well as GPs, local authorities and major food retailers will receive updated lists of those being asked to shield, so the additional people being identified can access support.

Guidance on shielding can be found on the Welsh Government’s website