Key actions for general practice when managing shielded patients
NHS England released its updated standard operating procedure guidance for general practice on 29 May, stating –
Letters have been sent to GPs and specialist consultants containing guidance and actions for practices.
GPs and hospital specialists can update the cohort of shielded patients, so any new patients diagnosed with conditions that fall within the highest clinical risk list can be added, and patients can be removed as appropriate.
The government list will be updated weekly, based on weekly downloads of GP data and daily uploads from trusts. Guidance for GPs regarding shielded patients are available on our website. The RCGP has produced guidance on shielded patients.
Key actions for GPs
- Ensure the situation is clearly flagged in the patient’s healthcare records and visible to all teams involved in the patient’s care.
- Ensure a named, lead co-ordinator is in place, either in primary or secondary care.
- Review and update personalised care plans and undertake any essential followup.
- Support patient self-management.
- Support patients with urgent medical needs (note that patients may also need to contact their specialist consultant directly).
- If the patient needs face-to-face assessment, they should be seen on a home visit, ideally by a dedicated team, and not brought into general practice premises unless clinically indicated.
- Ensure that there has been at least one contact by the practice with all its registered patients on the shielded list, as a follow-up to the original letter and follow up as required. Make every contact count.
- Help patients secure their medicine supplies regularly by ensuring electronic repeat dispensing is used for all suitable patients, and ensure they know how to access information about how they can have their medicines delivered.
- People in shielded groups may be particularly affected by mental health issues. GPs should work with local mental health, learning disability or autism services to review patients receiving care from these services.
Specialists have been asked to review ongoing care arrangements and will contact patients directly to make adjustments to hospital care and treatment as needed.
Source: NHS England, Guidance and standard operating procedures: General practice in the context of coronavirus (Covid-19) Version 3 [published 29 May]