Obese people in their 50s could be asked to shield in local lockdowns
Overweight 50 year olds could be asked to shield themselves under local lockdowns - Clara Molden
Obese people in their fifties may be asked to shield themselves under local lockdowns, replacing a "blanket approach" to shielding with more individualized advice, according to The Telegraph.
Ministers are expected to outline a three-tier local lockdown system next week that will include shielding recommendations related to the local threat level.
During the first wave of the pandemic, around 2.2 million people in England classified as "extremely clinically at risk" were asked to provide shelter at home for months.
While some clinical criteria - such as performing certain cancer treatments - are likely to remain part of the centralized guidelines, GPs are expected to self-assess the risks to their patients.
This means that an overweight smoker in their fifties with a history of medical problems may be advised to stay at home, while someone with a lower body mass index who suffers from other health problems may not be advised.
Health officials stressed that final decisions about restarting the screening program have not been made. However, government sources said family doctors would be asked to take a much closer look at a patient's specific individual circumstances rather than give the same advice to all patients with a particular disease.
Dr. Jenny Harries, the assistant chief physician, has been working with health officials on risk assessment algorithms for several months.
On Friday evening, general practitioners expressed concern that they did not participate in the discussions where every GP in the country could be expected to conduct a swift assessment of all of their patients.
Professor Martin Marshall, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It is important that once decisions are made to reintroduce shielding, these are clearly communicated to GPs in the affected areas, along with clear guidance on the role, which they will play in the implementation.
"General practitioners and our teams will likely be the first port of call for patients who have questions about whether or not to protect themselves and why. It is therefore important that we are as well informed as possible so that we can provide them with appropriate advice and support can offer."
Blood Cancer UK chief executive Gemma Peters said the charity would appreciate clear advice tailored to the risk in each individual area. When the UK entered lockdown, those with blood cancer should be given advice on how to protect themselves. But more than a month later, one in three people hadn't received a letter, the charity found.
Ms. Peters said: "The last time the NHS poorly informed people with blood cancer that they were at high risk and some people were never told to be screened. This time it has to get a lot better."
"The government also needs to give people with blood cancer who cannot work from home the financial support to shield themselves if they want. It will not be enough just to be able to claim statutory sick pay. This would some people force them to choose between their finances and their health. "
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