Important information – Scam calls
We have been made aware of scam calls where shielding letters are being used as a way of getting personal information. Before you give away any personal information, verify who you are talking to or talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. Slow down, check out the story and if possible do an on line search. You can validate the call by making contact with the person through the organisation’s switchboard. Always look up the contact telephone number for yourself or use directory enquiries.

The NHS are striving to protect any individual who may potentially have risk of contracting Covid-19.

The Government is currently advising people to shield until at least the 30 June irrespective of when a letter was received from the NHS.

Nationally, there has been a huge effort to make sure that all vulnerable people are protected from COVID-19.  NHS England asked that every Trust send out general letters to ensure that anyone who may possibly require shielding would be informed. Many people will require self-isolation and all require a minimum of social distancing but not all require shielding. As a Trust we have sent out a general letter to all vulnerable people advising that shielding may be necessary so you may have received this from us. Our services are then undertaking a more detailed review of individual patients to determine if shielding is actually required and so you may then have received a follow up letter from us advising if we feel shielding is required in your individual case.

NHS Digital, which is part of the NHS, are contacting patients who are believed to be most at risk from Coronavirus. To compile the initial list of nearly one million vulnerable patients it was necessary for NHS Digital to combine routine NHS data from multiple sources. In this extremely complex process, the priority was to ensure that vital information went to vulnerable patients as quickly as possible. This carried a risk of including a small number of less vulnerable individuals so some of our patients may have received a letter from the national team advising about potential shielding requirements. NHS Digital have assured they will continue to identify and rectify any issues that may arise as the process of identifying vulnerable people continues.

This means that you may be in a position where you might have received letters from Barnsley Hospital and also from the national NHS Digital team that may have caused some confusion.

For clarification, the shielded patient list looks to identify any patients with the following:

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients
  2. People with specific cancers:
    • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
    • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancerPeople having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
    • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
  3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  6. People who are pregnant with significant congenital heart disease

If you have not received a letter, but think you should be in the shielded patients list, you should speak to your GP or specialist in the first instance. You should also register yourself for support on the website if you need extra help and support.

If you are not in one of the patient groups listed above, you can ignore the communications you may have received.

If you are unsure whether you are in one of the groups listed above contact your GP or clinical specialist for advice.

Your GP or hospital can deduct you from the list once they are satisfied you are not in a high risk group.

Further information is available at:

Unfortunately in some instances letters have been sent in error to deceased patients. We are sorry for any distress caused to family members affected by this. We are working hard and at unprecedented speed to get information out to patients as quickly as possible, because we know how important it is that people have accurate and timely information during the on-going coronavirus pandemic. In some cases we have made a mistake and although we cannot contact you personally we are genuinely sorry for this error.

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