Frequently Asked Questions – NHS Services

Can I visit my GP surgery or hospital clinic for treatment?

  • You should contact your GP/hospital clinician in the first instance if you have any concerns/queries about your ongoing care and treatment but please carry on with whatever care/treatment arrangements are currently in place until your GP/hospital specialist tells you anything different.

How can I safely access NHS services outside of my home?

  • The NHS has already significantly changed the way it operates in order to safely treat and care for those who are at highest risk of severe illness were they to contract COVID-19.
  • If your GP/hospital specialist asks you to attend an appointment at the GP surgery/clinical/hospital, you can contact them to ask them about the specific infection control arrangements in place locally and to discuss any concerns you might have.
  • NHS England wrote to your GP or hospital clinician, asking them to review ongoing care arrangements for all patients who were shielding. As a result of this review, many of you will have received regular care or treatment at home, or had hospital appointments cancelled or postponed, if clinically appropriate to do so. These care arrangements may change when the shielding advice is further relaxed from 1 August.
  • Wherever care at home is not possible, the NHS has been asked to provide safe care in infection-controlled settings, in line with latest infection prevention and control guidance.
  • NHS Volunteers can also help with transport to a medical appointment, please ask your healthcare professional to organise this.

Can carers visit to provide medical support?

  • Yes, any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Essential carers coming to your home should follow advice on good hygiene: wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there (or use hand sanitiser), avoid touching their face, catch any coughs or sneezes in a tissue (or their sleeve), and put used tissues immediately in the bin and wash their hands afterwards. They should observe social distancing guidelines where close or personal contact is not required and where this is possible.
  • Further information and guidance on home care can be found here.

Are carers and/or NHS staff who are looking after me at home being tested for Covid-19 before they visit?

  • All domiciliary care staff, volunteers and unpaid carers are able to access testing if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Further information and guidance on home care can be found here.

Will my GP/clinician have been informed about this change/given any guidance?

  • Yes, the Government has written to the NHS with further information about the changes.
  • The Government will continue to engage extensively with partners and the healthcare system throughout this process to help ensure they are meeting the needs of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Will my medicines continue to be delivered?

  • Those supported by the Medicines Delivery Service who continue to need help will receive this support until the end of July.
  • After this date, if it is not possible for someone to maintain social distancing whilst attending their pharmacy, and friends and family are not able to collect medicine for them, then the NHS Volunteer Responders will continue to offer medicines deliveries. If someone is vulnerable or at risk and needs help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, they should call 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8pm).

Will NHS Volunteer Responders continue to support me?

  • Yes, NHS Volunteer Responders will continue to offer support to those who need it.
  • In addition, from 16 June, the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme has been expanded to offer a new ‘Check in and Chat Plus’ role. This new role has been designed to provide peer support and companionship to people who are shielding as they transition to the new guidance.
  • If you are vulnerable or at risk and need help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).