Advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus


National lockdown: Stay at Home rules now apply in East Sussex.

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.

See COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021, the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

If you have recently been advised to shield by the government, see advice for people newly added to the CEV (clinically extremely vulnerable) group.

People in the CEV group can now access additional support from their energy supplier. Find out about the Priority Services Register | Ofgem.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (CEV) are currently being advised to follow the shielding guidance until 31 March 2021.

You’re advised not to attend work, school, college or university, not to travel or go to the shops or a pharmacy, and to limit the time you spend outside the home. You can go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it’s essential.

See also: Easy read COVID-19 guides – including advice for people clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus in East Sussex. These easy read guides help people with learning disabilities to understand the support available and the latest government COVID-19 rules.

What does clinically extremely vulnerable mean?

Read the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK. People who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are on the Shielded Patient List.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter confirming this or been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician. If you have been newly added, the government will write to you to let you know.

COVID-19 vaccination

People identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are being offered the COVID-19 vaccination as a priority group. Information on when and how you can get your jab is available here: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

Getting help and advice

If you need help and support:

  • In the first instance, you should ask trusted family, friends or neighbours to collect or organise shopping for food and essentials, and medicine or prescription collection on your behalf.
  • You can still get prescriptions, essential items and food you buy delivered by NHS Volunteer Responders (0808 196 3646) if you need to. They may also be able to help with transport to medical appointments and set up regular contact over the phone with a friendly voice if you’re lonely or isolated.
  • You can make a new registration on GOV.UK for priority supermarket delivery slots and to ask for contact about local support. If you already have priority delivery access, you’ll keep it. Read more local advice on shopping and food delivery.
  • If you don’t have anyone you can ask for help, you can contact Health and Social Care Connect (HSCC) on 0345 60 80 191 (open 8am to 8pm 7 days a week including bank holidays) or email Health and Social Care Connect.
  • If you can’t get help from a family member or volunteer, whilst shielding is in place you’ll be eligible for free medicines delivery. You should inform your pharmacy that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered. Use the Find a Pharmacy Serviceto find one near you.

If you need help, contact Health and Social Care Connect (HSCC) on 0345 60 80 191 (open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week including bank holidays) or email Health and Social Care Connect. If you can’t get food or medicines, contact HSCC.

You can also contact HSCC to ask for this information in any other language or in an accessible format, or use Google Translate.

For information on other community support available during the pandemic, including the five Community Hubs in East Sussex, visit the Community support web page.


You’re strongly advised to work from home. If you can’t work from home, you shouldn’t attend work. Guidance on working from home is available on GOV.UK and includes what to do if you need support to, or can’t, work from home.


If you’re struggling or worried about finances or debt:

Extra support from energy suppliers

You can access additional support from your energy supplier. Energy suppliers are required by the regulator, Ofgem, to hold a register of customers in a vulnerable circumstance, called a Priority Service Register. If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you can be added to this register. For information about how to be added to the register and the additional services your supplier can provide you, please visit Ofgem’s website. You won’t need to provide evidence that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable.

Suppliers have also agreed to provide additional support to consumers in financial difficulty during the pandemic, which could include pausing debt repayments, stopping disconnections, sending you prepayment top ups if you cannot leave the house and referring you to independent debt advisors for support.

Health and wellbeing

  • The NHS is open and you should continue to access all the NHS services that you need. It is safer for you to use the NHS than to try to manage alone. You can also access a range of NHS services from home or download the NHS App on your smartphones or tablet.
  • It’s also really important to look after your mental health. Go to the Every Mind Matters website for advice and practical steps that you can take to support your wellbeing and manage your mental health during this pandemic. For urgent or crisis support, call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500 or visit Urgent help in a crisis. For more local services and advice go to the Mental Health Directory.
  • The Government is advising CEV people to make sure their GP has their most up-to-date contact details, including their home address and, if possible, a personal email address, so that you can be contacted quickly in the event that guidance changes in the future.
  • You should continue to receive support from social care if you require it.
  • Visit our coronavirus health and wellbeing pages for advice on looking after your mental health, staying active and eating well.