Shielding is pausing in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on 1 August, and Wales on Wales on 16 August. This has been a uniquely challenging situation for the 2.2. million people who were advised to shield in March, which meant staying inside, not seeing anyone except those they live with, or going for medical care such as dialysis. Hundreds were unable to have transplants. It also meant that those who worked either did so from home, or were furloughed. Some people are looking forward to going back to work, and are being supported by their employers to do so safely. Others have lost their jobs. Based on current patient experience Kidney Care UK would like to see
- Specific guidance for employers which makes clear that people who have been shielding should be able to continue working from home, rather than the approach that everyone should go back to the office.
- A clear directive to employers on their duty to speak to employees in advance of their return about what safety measures they have put in place.
- Stronger protection for employees if their environment is high risk so that they can do back room or lower contact jobs. This may also include going back onto furlough.
With 14 other charities we have written to the chancellor to ask for extended financial support for those who are more vulnerable to doing badly from Covid so that they don’t have to choose between their lives and their livelihoods. We think that everyone who has made a great sacrifice in adhering closely to the shielding guidance deserves all the support they can get and should not be put under undue pressure and have a greater chance of redundancy. The UK shielding scheme should continue to shield people from further financial burdens.
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