This site is intended for health professionals only

Shielded patients do not need GP letters to have haircuts, says BMA

GPs can refuse to provide letters for shielding patients who request them in order to have their hair cut, the BMA has said.

In a weekly update sent to LMCs, the BMA said it had heard of practices being contacted for letters on behalf of patients who are shielding from coronavirus to allow them to take part in certain activities.

A spokesperson told Pulse that in one case hairdressers have been told by their insurance company that GP letters are necessary before shielding patients can have a haircut.

Shielding patients do not need such letters but should follow Government guidance on social distancing and ‘other necessary precautions’, the update added.

The BMA said: ‘We have heard of situations where individuals, employers, businesses or insurance companies have been suggesting that shielding patients obtain a letter from their GP to engage in certain activities, including having their hair cut.

‘There is no requirement or necessity for such letters and patients and others should follow the Government guidance relating to social distancing and other necessary precautions.’

It comes as the Government has said it is looking at bringing shielding GPs ‘back to work’ in practices from 1 August – when the shielding programme will be paused.

However, the shielding list will be retained and kept up-to-date for the event of a new virus spike, with GPs and specialists being asked to rewrite the list based on a new risk prediction tool currently in development.

Earlier this month, Pulse revealed that this reworked shielding list could be significantly expanded as evidence has emerged to show those with hypertension, CVD and diabetes have a high risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Government has formally adopted recommendations made by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which will see a ‘majority’ of children removed from the shielding list. 

Pulse voluntary donation scheme

Since the outbreak of this pandemic, Pulse has strived to support you, whether it be through our resources page, our ‘Clinical Crises’ series, holding policymakers to account with exclusives such as practices being supplied with faulty masks, or GPs being told to stop routine services in the hardest hit areas.

However, good journalism cannot be done on the cheap and, like the whole publishing industry, we have been affected by the economic slowdown. We also strongly believe the content we produce should remain free as we feel it is essential for you. Because of this, we have set up a voluntary donation scheme. There is no compulsion whatsoever to donate. But if you feel we are helping you, and you would like to support us, anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated. Read more here.

Donate here