Advice for the general public and vulnerable people

Updated: 7 January 2021

National lockdown rules apply in England

We know this is a difficult time for our patients, and their families, friends and carers but we are here to help in any way we can. Please find below COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice for clinically extremel vulnerable people and the general public in line with latest government guidance.

Advice for patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Shielding has resumed in England, and people who need to shield (those defined as clinically extremely vulnerable) should not attend work, school, college or university.

Some of our patients will be defined as clinically extremely vulnerable, and are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. There are 2 ways you may be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:

  • You have one or more of the conditions listed on the government website, or
  • Your clinician or GP has added you to the 'shielded' patients list because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at higher risk of serious illness if you catch the virus. You will have received a letter and/or text from the NHS with details on shielding.

Patients who have been advised to shield can get support, for example priority access to supermarket deliveries. Please visit the government website for more information. You should continue to attend your hospital appointments and access the care you need. 

In addition to this, please read our information leaflet 'Your wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic'. This leaflet was developed for our patients who need to sheild, but others may find the information helpful as well. It contains some top tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic and signposts to other available resources.

We also have a COVID-19 information page which provides the latest information about the trust and our services during the pandemic here.

Food supplies and support services for vulnerable people

Click here for a list of services that can offer help with food shopping and other practical support if you need to self-isolate or have been recently discharged from hospital during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and services will vary by area. Please refer to the organisations directly for further advice.

You can also register for support with NHS volunteer responders by calling: 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 daya a week).

Advice for the general public

The government’s guidance about COVID-19 is regularly updating and it is important to keep up to date with the latest information. The most up to date advice can be found here

Symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do

Do not leave your home if you any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in a 24 hour period (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home; only leave your home to have a test.

  1. For advice on the next steps please visit:
  2. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse, please visit: If you cannot get help online, please call 111.

How to stop the infection spreading

The NHS has provided further information about how coronavirus is spread, and what you can do to avoid catching it. This includes the following advice:

  • wash you hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get back home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

The Department of Health has produced a film with information about people can prevent the spread of infections: