Patients At Risk Under New Guidelines

Updated February 19th 2021

NHS England have recently identified an additional group of patients at higher risk from Covid-19. They have sent letters or emails to the patients that have been recently identified as being vulnerable.

They have used a risk assessment tool called QCOVID to calculate patient’s risk of getting Covid – this is a complex tool which looks at a variety of different factors to assess your risk. If you have received this letter, you are one of the patients which has been identified by the tool as being at high risk if you were to get Covid.

This tool has been used at a national level to identify an additional group of patients with specific multiple risk factors which, combined, may put them at similar risk to those who are clinically
extremely vulnerable to severe outcomes.

As a precautionary measure these patients have now been advised to follow Government guidance for those who are high risk – this currently includes shielding. There is more guidance on shielding here.

The government recognises that while people may feel this advice is not currently relevant as infection rates decline, it is still important that patients are aware of their risk status. This will enable them to be prioritised for the vaccine, if they have not yet had this, as well as to be provided with additional advice and support.

Frequently Asked Questions

What in my medical records has been used to identify me as part of this cohort?

Unfortunately GP practices have no way of replicating the data analysis which has been carried out by NHS Digital therefore we are unable to tell you why have you been added to this list at present.

What will happen with my vaccination?

If you are under 65 you are recognised as having an equivalent risk to those previously identified as being extremely clinically vulnerable. You will be prioritised for your vaccination ahead of others in group 6. If you are over 65 you will have already been in group 5 and therefore your priority grouping won’t be affected.

Do I have to follow this guidance?

Patients at high risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 infections are strongly encouraged to follow shielding guidance. However this is advice and not the law. It is your own choice whether to follow this.

How will I be informed if I am in this group?

Patients will be added to the shielded patient list in two groups. Patients aged 19-69 who
are being added to the shielded patients list will start to receive notification of this from the week commencing 15th February 2021, with letters continuing to land into the following week.

How have patients been identified?

The original Clinically Extremely Vulnerable group was initially identified by establishing a list of clinical conditions believed to put an individual at high risk from COVID-19. Last year, the Chief Medical
Officer (CMO) for England, commissioned an expert sub-group of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) to develop a predictive risk model. The model is known as QCovid®. It has been developed by a group of researchers led by the University of Oxford, and combines data on a number of factors to estimate the risk of catching and then being hospitalised by or dying from

Why am I only being identified as high risk now?

Evidence about COVID-19 and the factors that lead people to become seriously ill is constantly improving. Until this point there has not been sufficient scientific evidence to run population-based tools which can accurately assess patient risk of developing complications from Covid-19. This tool has only just been approved for use in assessing patient risk.

For more information go to:

Information about the QRisk Model and how it was developed

Information about how the QRisk Model identifies patients within this cohort

Information about the risk assessment tool