Shielded groups

As you will know, in 2020 the government contacted members of the public known to be in vulnerable groups, asking them to shield themselves for 12 weeks. As a Trust, we were asked to review those on the government’s list that are known to be patients at Addenbrooke’s to ensure it is comprehensive. A central team led by consultants Amanda Cox and Anna Maw, was created to manage the Trust’s response.

Guidance for management of shielded patients during the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.

There has been an important update to the shielding programme (11.01.21)

How to add patients to the National Shielding List

You will be aware that clinically extremely vulnerable patients are once again being asked to shield.

We want to reassure you that any patient previously placed on the national register should automatically receive notification and updated advice in line with this announcement, unless they have subsequently been removed.

You can check that your patient is registered by clicking on the yellow ‘alerts’ button on your patient’s EPIC banner (top of summary page) and all patients previously registered by CUH will have an alert saying ‘Covid-19 – shielding’.

If this alert is present, but your patient has not received advice from the government or us and needs this support please let the shielding patient update team know by emailing

To register a new patient, please:

  1. Click ‘Alerts’ on your patient’s summary banner, and then click ‘New Flag’ – if you type ‘COVID’ and hit return it will autocomplete.
  2. Send the most appropriate shielding letter to the patient. The text for this letter is dictated by PHE and available to add when you make your letter as a smart text that you can insert. To add the smart phrase use the ‘insert smart text’ box which is found in the letter writer on the same line as the font size button.
  • Use the smart text: ‘Covid-19 addition to shielded patient list – CKD only’ for those being added due to CKD
  • Use ‘Covid-19 addition to shielded patient list’ for all other patients

 The central team will then identify patients with this alert recently added and register them to the national list.

Please be aware that patients may have been added or removed from the national list without our knowledge (for example by GPs or other healthcare providers) and there may therefore be discrepancies.

Patients Requesting Removal from the Shielding Patient List

• Any patient who makes contact to say they should not be on the Shielding Patient List should be directed to their Clinician, and their GP
• The Clinician can remove the SHIELDING alert flag in EPIC
• Removal from the central register must be done with involvement of, and by, the GP who will have oversight of all the patient’s medical problems

Patient Enquires

• Patient enquiries about shielding will be directed to the Clinician responsible for the patient

Highest risk patients and ED attendances

Most of the COVID-19 cases diagnosed at CUH were initially assessed and managed in our non COVID-19 ED area as COVID had not been identified on arrival of the patient as the primary diagnostic concern. Our ED has limited side rooms and cannot always ‘shield’ patients who present there who are at highest risk from other attendees. Therefore we ask all teams to consider alternative pathways for their highest risk patients, should they become unwell, to reduce the risk of hospital transmission in our busy emergency department.