Information for patients receiving letters about being ‘at risk’ if they were to get COVID

We are aware that some of our patients who had not to date had any contact from the NHS regarding being at risk if they were to get COVID, may have received a letter. We wanted to share the following information to help explain why that is the case and how it affects you:

Why have I received this letter?

NHS England has used a risk assessment tool called QCOVID to calculate people’s risk of getting COVID.  This is a complex tool that looks at a variety of different factors to assess peoples’ risk.  If you have received this letter, you are one of the patients identified by the tool as being at high risk if you were to get COVID.  You can see all the information your GP received.

What in my medical records has caused me to be added to this list?

Unfortunately, the practice has no current way of replicating the analysis that has been done by NHS Digital and so we are unable to tell you why you have been added to this list.  This situation may change over time, but we have no way of knowing when.

 What should I do now?  Should I go to work?  Should I go out?

You should follow the advice detailed on  This will mean that you need to take extra measures above and beyond those which you probably have been taking.  The guidance covers:

  • Social activities
  • Work
  • Educational settings
  • Travel
  • Shopping
  • Medicines
  • Accessing care and support
  • Registering for additional support

You may be eligible for additional support and should be able to receive statutory sick pay for time off from work.

What about vaccination?

If you are under 65 you should be prioritised for vaccination ahead of others in cohort 6 which is people who are at risk because of a variety of medical conditions.  If you are over 65 you will have already been in group 5, so this won’t affect the priority with which you’re given the vaccine.

What if I think they’ve added me incorrectly?

At the moment, the best way to review this is through discussion with the practice.  Please bear in mind that the practice team is helping with the vaccination program.  Because of this it may not be possible to immediately deal with enquiries, but you can submit any question you may have through our ask the practice a question form.

Do I have to follow this guidance?

Patients at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection are strongly encouraged to follow shielding guidance. However, this is advice, and not the law. Patients can choose whether or not they want to follow it.

Why am I only now being identified as high risk?

This tool has only just been approved for use in assessing patients risk of COVID 19. Until now the NHS hasn’t had sufficient scientific evidence to run population-based tools that can accurately assess peoples risk of developing COVID.

The above information has been reproduced from Primary Care Pathways.