Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support
Medical appointments or advice

Medical appointments or advice

Hospital and GP appointments

Talk to your GP or clinician, if you have a hospital or medical appointment. This will make sure you continue to receive the care you need. They may decide to do a consultation or appointment over the telephone. Or they may use Near Me, a video-calling service used by the NHS.

Other times, they may conduct a home visit or ask you to travel to a practice, health centre or hospital. They will have considered risk of infection, clinical need and service capacity. There will be measures in place to keep you safe.

Urgent medical care (that is not coronavirus)

For urgent questions about your existing medical condition, please contact your GP practice or specialist hospital care team. This includes if it is in relation to the condition of the person you are caring for.

Call 999 in an emergency. This is when somebody is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at serious risk. Tell the call handler that you have been asked to shield because of an underlying health condition.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus

If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, call 111. Symptoms include:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature (above 37.8 °C)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour or more
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back. You don’t need to measure your temperature.

If you are high risk and develop symptoms phone the NHS on 111: do this as soon as you notice symptoms.

We are asking you to get in touch sooner than we are advising everyone else. We are asking those who are not shielding to only contact the NHS if they feel very unwell or to book a test.

If you need to go to hospital due to coronavirus, we ask that you have ready a single hospital bag. This will help the NHS provide you with the best care possible. This should include: 

  • details for your emergency contact
  • a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency)
  • an anticipatory care plan if you have one
  • any information on planned appointments
  • essential things you would need for an overnight stay – snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc.

First published: 23 Feb 2021 Last updated: 23 Feb 2021 -