On the 22 June the UK Government announced changes to the COVID-19 shielding advice including a phased relaxing of the guidance for the shielded population. In response the RCP called for NHS staff to be equipped with the detailed scientific evidence base to support patients.
Professor Donal O’Donoghue, Royal College of Physicians registrar said: “Today’s announcement will be met with mixed emotions by many. The past few weeks and months have been challenging and we know that many patients will be unsure about what lies ahead.
“It is crucial that the Government builds trust by regularly communicating and engaging with those who have been shielding up to now. Patients are likely to have many questions and we need to ensure that frontline NHS staff are equipped with the detailed scientific evidence base to be able to support patients to make their shared decisions based on individual assessments of risk and their personal priorities.
“As our understanding of the virus’s transmission in the community grows, we need to ensure that local R levels are communicated regularly and timely to support individuals in their assessment of risk. There can be no one size fits all approach as factors such as travel options and work environments will vary.
“As we begin to restart wider NHS services, we must also consider how the NHS can best support shielding healthcare staff. By now, we expect that all NHS staff in priority groups should have received an individual risk assessment which employers and staff should use to make decisions about individual deployments.”