Clinically extremely vulnerable people

This page was last updated on 17 January at 18.45

England is now under a national ‘Stay at Home’ lockdown. If your job can be done from home, you must work from home.

In addition, ‘shielding’ has been brought back for those people who have been identified as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

If you are in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable‘ category you are at high risk from Covid and you must not attend work in any circumstances. Your employer must allow you to work from home. If your job cannot be done from home you could be redeployed to other roles that can be done from home.

If your employer cannot find you any work to do from home, if you work in the private sector you can be placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough). If you work in the public sector you are probably entitled to remain on full pay.

Find out more about the furlough scheme

Stay at home

If you have been told you are in the high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) category, you must stay at home except for medical appointments, essential exercise or in an emergency. If you do have to leave your home you should:

  • limit how long you are outside your home
  • keep all contact with other people to a minimum
  • avoid busy areas

You may be able to get support from your local council if you have to shield – check here

Do not go to work

You must work from home if you can. Your employer should support you to do this. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work. You will get a letter advising you to stay at home. You can use this letter as proof that you are unable to go to work.

Your employer may redeploy you to a role that can be done from home. If they cannot, you may be entitled to continue to receive your normal pay. This will depend on your contract of employment. If you need advice on this please contact the branch office.

If your contract does not provide you with full pay whilst you shield, you may be eligible for:

NHS advice for people at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)

Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’?

According to government guidance you may be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable if you:

  1. Have any of the health conditions listed below; or
  2. Have been added to the shielded patient list by your GP or hospital clinician because they believe your individual circumstances means you are at significant risk

The health conditions that are automatically classed as being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ are:

  • having had an organ transplant
  • having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
  • having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
  • having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
  • having blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • having had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
  • have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
  • having a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
  • taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
  • having a serious heart condition and are pregnant
  • having a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
  • an adult with Down’s syndrome
  • an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease

What if someone I live with is clinically extremely vulnerable?

Lots of our members may not fall into the extremely clinically vulnerable group and are not required to shield, but may live with someone who does. During the current lockdown in England, the requirement not to go to work only applies to the individual who is classed as extremely clinically vulnerable, and not other members of the household. However, employers must be mindful of the risks of going to work and the impact on other people you live with. We expect employers to assess the risks and allow anyone in the situation to stay at home.

View our advice for people who live with someone who is vulnerable