Health and Wellbeing

Shielding guidance update

Last updated 10/08//2020


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 (staying at home and only leaving the house for medical appointments). You might have been contacted by letter, text message or in another way to tell you to shield and with any updates.

Across the UK, shielding has either paused or in Wales due to pause in the middle of August. The level of Coronavirus is low enough in the community that the government is confident shielders will be safe. Shielders are being encouraged to return to work and school in cases where it is safe to do so.

Regular hand washing is still encouraged and across the UK you will need to wear a mask on public transport and in shops. It is important to check the local advise in your area as this is subject to changes and variations.

Local lockdowns

The current approach to managing Coronavirus in the community is to address spikes in case numbers through the use of local lockdowns such as those seen in Leicester, Aberdeen and other areas. These lockdown measures vary in length and by place. Local lockdowns should be communicated to those who are shielding along with any updated advice.

The government will update shielding information depending on how prevalent coronavirus is in the community and the risk that this may pose to people who are extremely vulnerable.

Should I be shielding?

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 in March and April. 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.

Support for people who are shielding

When shielding pauses, this does not mean that it is over. If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or feel as though you should be on the shielding list for the future it is still important that you are registered.

Even if you have been contacted about shielding and don’t feel as though you need support, the government recommend that you register for support so that it is there if you do need it.

If you are shielding in England, you can register online for support here Or phone 0800 028 8327. You will need your NHS number to register. This can be found on your shielding letter if you received one or on any prescriptions.

In Scotland you can find more information on shielding and accessing support at NHS Inform or by calling 0800 111 4000.

If you are finding it difficult to contact or hear back from your medical team and you are shielding due to pancreatic cancer or associated conditions, please contact Pancreatic Cancer Action. You can phone us on 03030401770 or email

If you meet the criteria for shielding, we will be able to refer you for support.