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Four more conditions added to Covid-19 ‘shielding’ list

Four further conditions have been added to the list of conditions that mean patients are considered clinically most vulnerable from coronavirus (Covid-19) infection and should shield protectively.

Patients with interstitial lung disease, bronchiectasis and pulmonary hypertension have now been identified as requiring shielding, according to an updated RCGP training module.

GPs may receive queries from these patients although they should be identified and contacted by secondary care providers about their inclusion on the list, the RCGP said.

It said: ‘Since this module was first published, another group of patients have been identified who should shield. These include those with interstitial lung disease, some with bronchiectasis and those with pulmonary hypertension.

‘These patients will be identified and contacted by secondary care but you may receive queries from them in primary care.’

The module also clarified that patients who have had a splenectomy were ‘mistakenly’ missed off the original list and should also shield.

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It said: ‘Patients who have had a splenectomy should shield. There were some early communications that mistakenly said that this was not the case but these have been clarified.’

NHS Digital will identify any patients with a splenectomy who had been ‘wrongly taken off’ the shielding list, the RCGP added.

It comes as the deadline for GPs to review the list of patients who have self-identified as requiring shielding was this week extended to the 28 April.

Meanwhile, NHS England’s primary care lead apologised to GPs for NHS England’s handling of the shielded patient list amid criticism over tight deadlines and delays to the checking process.

Last week, GPs in Wales were left fielding calls after 13,000  shielding letters were sent to the wrong addresses.

And NHS Digital has apologised for sending nearly 11,000 shielding letters to dead people in error.