Changes to shielding guidelines in England and Wales
From April 1st shielding (staying at home and only leaving the house for medical appointments) for those in the clinically extremely vulnerable groups will come to an end in England and Wales unless advised otherwise by their doctor.
In Scotland, shielding is due to end on 26th April, when adults will be able to return to work and further education and children will be able to go back to school.
In Northern Ireland, medically-vulnerable and older people are still advised to be particularly careful in following the recommendations on limiting contacts. The Government has not yet set a date for when this guidance will change.
If you currently have pancreatic cancer or have had the disease in the past, you may have been advised by the government that you need to take part in shielding.
Does this mean it is safe for me to go out?
The level of Coronavirus is low enough in the community that the governments in England and Wales are confident that those shielding will be safe with the guidelines being removed.
However, people who had been told to shield are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people. If you do choose to go out please remember to follow the current restrictions.
People are allowed to socially distance meet in groups of up to six people or two households outdoors. Regular hand washing is still encouraged and across the UK you will need to wear a mask on public transport and in shops.
Should I still stay at home?
If you currently have pancreatic cancer or had the disease in the past and had treatments to remove the cancer, particularly those involving the removal of your spleen, you are likely to be at an increased risk of Coronavirus and any complications. The virus is at a much lower level than when shielding was introduced.
However, if you have concerns about the shielding process ending, it is important to speak to your medical team about your individual risk. You may also want to discuss ways of keeping you safe with your employer.
Doctors will have considered your personal risk of coronavirus and pressures in your area when making treatment decisions or changes to your planned treatment. Your treatment may have been postponed to protect you from the worst effects of the virus.
Will an end of shielding affect my cancer treatment?
Depending on where you live, cancer services in your area may be reorganised as the coronavirus outbreak continues. You may find that the location of your cancer treatment changes to a different hospital or cancer hub. Your doctor may adjust your treatment regime so that more of your treatment can be delivered at home.
You should now find that your treatments are beginning to be restored. This may not be in the same location as prior to the pandemic but medical teams are confident that changes have been made to protect you, and encourage you to attend any appointments.
If you are worried about how coronavirus has or will continue to affect your treatment, it is important to speak to your medical team.