Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, who have been advised to shield, are now able to form support bubbles, and spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people; from 1 August, advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. While these steps are being taken as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low, they will be most welcome for individuals who have been shielding since March.
The Government has taken the decision to pause shielding from the beginning of August, as the risk of infection has reduced to a level where it is considered sufficiently safe for clinically extremely vulnerable to meet others and go to work or to the shops, provided social distancing measures are kept in place, and that they regularly, robustly, wash their hands. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are still encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, and the relaxation of measures does not mean that people are obliged to leave their homes to socialise or visit shops if they do not feel comfortable doing so.
As well as asking family, friends and neighbours for help, or using online services, if you would still like help with your shopping, NHS Volunteer Responders will continue to offer support after 31 July. You will still be able to choose what products you would like, and when you would like them, and an NHS Volunteer Responder will then pick up and deliver your shopping to you. NHS Volunteer Responders can also pick up other essentials you need.
You can call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support. Additionally, if you have registered for a priority supermarket delivery slot before 17 July, you will keep this priority slot from 1 August.
While the Government funded medicine delivery service will stop in line with shielding being paused, you can still contact NHS Volunteer Responders to ask for someone to pick up prescriptions for you, or use an online NHS pharmacy who also offer free delivery of medicines. Your current pharmacy may also have arrangements in place, and you can contact them directly to enquire.