A number of new announcements have been made in the last 24 hours that impact on kidney patients
New shielding guidance in England and additions to the clinically extremely vulnerable group
Prior to the lockdown in England new shielding guidance has been issued. Our coronavirus page will be updated in line with this today. Kidney Care UK welcomes this new clarity and we have been told that kidney patients should still be going for blood tests and check ups, that renal units are open and transplants are continuing. Unlike previous shielding guidance you are encouraged to take exercise outside. We are seeking clarity about who qualifies for furlough under the new scheme and will add this information to our advice page as soon as we can.
People with stage 5 CKD added to the clinically extremely vulnerable group
Following research and evidence being shared by renal medical teams it became clear that people who have Chronic Kidney Disease stage 5 (CKD5 where kidney function is 15% or less) who are not on dialysis or who have had a transplant are also at high risk of becoming unwell if they develop Covid19. Therefore, this patient population has also been added to the clinically extremely vulnerable list. All those who are classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable will be contacted in the days ahead, however if you are one of the people who has CKD5 and have not previously been shielding here are three actions you can take now:
- Revising your workplace risk assessment now a higher risk applies and speak to your employer about implementing any necessary changes.
- Accessing support that is available to you to reduce your risk of catching Covid, for example by speaking to your pharmacy about medicines delivery, setting up online shopping or getting in touch with your local NHS Volunteers for help with shopping for essential items.
- If you feel anxious about this change you may find information and links in our guidance helpful and should also speak to your renal unit about your concerns. Our Advocacy Officers and counsellors are available for you, as is everyone at Kidney Care UK.
Campaigning from Kidney Care UK on the shielding patient list
A few weeks after the first lockdown in March, it was agreed that people on dialysis were extremely clinically vulnerable and should be advised to shield, following consistent campaigning work by the charity and our medical colleagues. There is a list of conditions on the government Shielding Patient List, which includes for example people with transplants. There is also a second group of conditions which were not listed separately, but included people on dialysis. While GPs and specialists were aware of this and wrote to patients, we were worried that not everybody had been written to, or were aware. We know great efforts were made by medical teams to do this but there were still a number of patients who didn’t receive these letters or who received them much later than they should have.
After months of discussions between Kidney Care UK, renal experts and the Government, people on dialysis have now explicitly been added to the government list of those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. So, particularly for those whose employers were referring to this as to whether or not staff should be working or furloughed this is a positive step.
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, said: “We are pleased that the government have recognised that this group of around 30,000 people should now be clearly listed on government guidance and that everyone on dialysis has the chance to get the support they need and are entitled to during the pandemic”
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