Shielding information for my employer

Wilbur Member Posts: 3
edited 29. May 2020, 11:33 in Coronavirus (COVID-19)
I have not received the first round official NHS letter telling me to shield. Early April I received a standard letter from my rheumatology dept suggesting that anyone on the list of meds should shield. A copy of the NHS letter was enclosed but didn’t have my name on. As I take methotrexate and imraldi I sent the letter to my employer and they are fine with me working from home for as long as I need to. The letter also had links to this website & the BSR website where you could calculate your own risk score. I did this and came out as a 2 so not needing to shield.

Last week I got the same letter again but this time it enclosed the BSR guide to work out your risk. Again my risk was the middle group which contradicts the letter suggesting shielding.

My employer has asked me what end date was given for shielding. There is no end date on the letter so I don’t know.

I am really confused by the all of this. Why was I not on the official NHS list for letters if I need to shield? Why is the information I received contradictory? Why is there no end date?
Should I go by the letter and shield or should I go by the risk calculator?

I would feel happier working from home for as long as possible so I would rather be in the shielding category for work purposes. On the other hand I like having a short daily walk which I suppose you shouldn’t do if shielding.

Is anyone in a similar position and what have you told your employer? Thanks


  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,565

    Hello @Wilbur bur

    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis online Community on behalf of the moderators.

    Gosh yes this is a tricky one isn't it?

    Many on here are just as confused as you are as this thread illustrates:

    I will leave the members to get back to you, but very much hope your employer continues to be as supportive as he/she is being.


  • Wilbur
    Wilbur Member Posts: 3
    Thank you Ellen, hopefully someone else will be along soon in a similar situation.
  • Susan77
    Susan77 Member Posts: 2
    Iam also confused , I take methotrexate and golimuhab injections and also medication for high blood pressure . According to these guide lines I should be shielding. I have received no letters just a tx from my gp saying to stop medication immediately if I have any symptoms of coronavirus. I have not left the house for 5 weeks but Would like to no what risk criteria I fall in so that I am able to make future decisions when it is best to return to work
    Etc . I have spoken to rheumatologist nurse and my gp practise but seemed to get fobbed off between the two so no further forward.
  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755

    Hi @Susan77 and welcome to the online Community.

    There appears to be a lot of confusion about the shielding letters being issued and who triggers the sending out to vulnerable people. We have put together some advice about assessing your risk to coronavirus:

    Sadly, we have temporarily removed the risk calculator from our website whilst we work with the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) on improvements. We’re working on this as a priority as we know it’s an important resource for people with arthritis.

    Do join in across the Community, ask questions and call in for a chat. You will be most welcome

    Best wishes


  • Jaymacc
    Jaymacc Member Posts: 1
    I also have high blood pressure , I get my flu jab I’m on methotrexate injecting weekly and my gp has told me I am not in the shielding group ! I’m not happy with this decision as feel I’m at risk and I have just gotten over 3 back to back chest infections but they say that’s what rheumatology have told them , I feel very vulnerable I have a 9 yr old son !
  • Hi @Jaymacc

    Welcome to the online community, it's great to have you here.

    This link will direct you to all the current advise in regards to Coronavirus and Arthritis

    If you are able to work from home, it may be possible for you to shield yourself anyway by using online shopping or asking any family or friends if they are able to do your shopping.

    Please let us know how you get on, we're looking forward to your next post.

    Best wishes,


  • scumbar
    scumbar Member Posts: 4

    I all I also an new to the community, I have just received a shielding letter (a bit late as I have been going out for my exercise for the last 6 weeks).. Does anyone know when I take my 12 weeks isolation from? Is it the day on the letter or the day this all kicked off. Many thanks for letting me post.

    Kr John.

  • Gemthom85
    Gemthom85 Member Posts: 26
    I spoke with my gp and rheumatology regarding this. They don't regard methotrexate as a great risk. It was initially on the shielding list but was then later removed. So perhaps why the confusion between march an april. I believe that because this is a new virus they cannot say for definite there is no risk infact I have been told by both a dr and a nurse that no one knows the level of risk. Healthy people are drying yet older cancer patients are surviving. It is a complete unknown so try not to read to much into it. Just keep yourself safe.

    The best advice i got was from rheumatology nurse an that was to not touch your face. Wash your hands! an stay in well ventilated areas 2 m apart. i trust the team that oversee my treatment plus there are sicker people out there than me.

    I have to work as i am a key worker and i can't work from home. My employers have given me a room on my own an i can social distance completely. Which suits me. Being stuck at home an not going over the door till potentially they find a vaccine sounds horrendous.
    If you do not have a shielding letter your employer must provide you with the ability to social distance. 2m at all time. Also and it does not specify but i would be looking at ventilation and the number of persons around you. Stagnant air is the worse for bacteria.
  • Kazza52
    Kazza52 Member Posts: 74

    I got a text way back in March advising me to shield for twelve weeks and on the 29th April I finally got my NHS letter telling me to shield for twelve weeks. Huge delay in sending out the letters has added to people being confused and as and when a vaccine is found I hope we are all at the top of the list to get it. Stay safe.

  • Kazza52
    Kazza52 Member Posts: 74

    Just received a text this morning from the NHS stating that that as I am in the clinically vulnerable category I have to further shield until the 30th June and that a letter will be coming out to me.

    Over the last few weeks I have shielded myself only going into my garden but what I have seen on the television with people getting into their cars and heading to seaside resorts is very worrying. Southend is only nine miles away from me and yet last weekend they had in excess of 50m people descending on the town and when you saw the pictures on the television people were definitely not adhering to the social distancing requirements on the beach. These people have no regard to us who are shielding due to medical conditions and we have strictly adhered to the requirements. When I am finally allowed to go outside I will be too frightened to do so. Does anyone else feel the same?

    Keep safe everyone.