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Coronavirus: NHS shielding letters miss thousands of cancer patients

PUBLISHED

Tens of thousands of cancer patients have not yet received letters advising them to “shield” themselves from the coronavirus threat, The Times has learnt.

Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer, has written to charities asking for their help in tracing the missing patients and alerting them to the need to take stringent self-protection measures against infection.

His appeal comes as the government increased by one million its estimate of the number of people at greatest risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19.

Its new strategy document stated that it had identified 2.5 million people who were “clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to shield”. At the onset of the lockdown in March, ministers estimated the number at 1.5 million.

Professor Johnson’s letter, seen by The Times, states: “We are still receiving reports of cancer patients who believe that they should have received a shielding letter but have not yet received one or have not been added to the national list. It is crucial that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable receive a letter advising them to shield.

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Source: The Times, 12 May 2020

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