We know that you have been watching the latest developments as we enter another phase of the pandemic.
There is a lot of detail, for example, about wearing face coverings when on public transport and busy places, and employment rights. We will publish our more detailed guidance through our patient information very soon but some key health points are here:
The government guidance recognises that it is very challenging for people who are extremely vulnerable to remain shielding, and states that this continues until the end of June in England (June 15 in Wales, June 12 in Scotland). This means those with transplants, on dialysis and with some kidney diseases which require immunosuppression. People on dialysis are now explicitly mentioned within the government advice. So the message for kidney patients is that nothing changes immediately.
Fiona Loud, Policy Director, said 'This confirmation meets our current expectations but we swiftly need to see a plan for what happens after June. The government has spoken about smarter shielding for vulnerable groups but patients want to know that they have not been left behind in policy decisions. While we quite understand that people need protection, being smarter about how they can regain a more normal life is so important for mental and financial well-being.'
More effective, risk-based targeting of protection measures
Within these plans we want to see a systematic, regular testing system for everyone going to dialysis whether or not they have symptoms, prioritisation for those with long term chronic conditions for vaccination plus testing and contact tracing for all vulnerable or extremely vulnerable patients. Furthermore we'd like to see some consideration for younger patients and whether there can be stratification for different groups within the patient population.
Following calls with senior policy makers we have been advised that an expert advisory group has been set up to look at shielding , which will report back in early June. We are monitoring this very closely.
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