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GPs remove 107,000 patients from Covid-19 shielding list

GPs’ review of the central list of people requiring shielding from coronavirus has resulted in 107,000 patients being removed from the list.

However, despite this, the list now stands at 2.16 million patients – nearly 700,000 more people than NHS England had initially estimated.

It comes as GP practices in England have spent an average of 26 hours a week reviewing whether patients should be shielding, according to a survey of the profession by Pulse, with practices having to remove 30 patients on average.

The list is still being populated, through a weekly extraction via the NHS Digital GP Extraction Service, six weeks after it was first launched.

And the Department of Health and Social Care told Pulse it would continue to add to the list of conditions recommended by the Chief Medical Officers, as new evidence on the illness emerges.

Most recently renal failure and pulmonary hypertension were added, and the Government clarified that splenectomy patients should have been on it all along but were missed off in error.

GPs and hospital specialists can also add patients to the list based on their discretion.

Patients should initially shield until 30 June and GPs have been told to follow up and check in with all of their shielding patients.

An NHS England bulletin on Covid-19, sent this morning, stated that the latest data trawl had identified a further ‘small number of patients’ who will be added to the list and require GP review.

The bulletin said: ‘Flags will be added to the GP records for these patients along with patients identified by hospital clinicians this week. The addition of flags and distribution of central letters is expected to be complete by Thursday 7 May.’

She said this comes as any patients that were ‘locally identified’ prior to 28 April ‘should now be recognised by the Government support website’.