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Omicron variant: Clinically Extremely Vulnerable must not be ignored any longer

November 29, 2021 12:14 PM
By Liberal Democrats
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have today called for urgent measures to support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), including a formal return and improvement of the shielding programme.

The Government has so far failed to announce any specific measures for those who were classed as CEV in spite of their increased risk of serious illness from Covid. It comes after two cases of the newly discovered 'Omicron' variant of Covid were reported in the UK.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are incredibly worried"

Daisy Cooper

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a five-point action plan to support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. This would include the return of official centralised guidance, so that the 3.8 million vulnerable people on the 'Shielded Patient List' have clarity on what is safe for them to do and where to seek the tailored clinical advice and support they need.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health and Social Care, Daisy Cooper MP, said:

"It's often said that how a society treats its most vulnerable is the measure of its humanity, but if that's the case, then this Government does not measure up.

The clinically vulnerable deserve clear guidance and support from ministers"

Daisy Cooper

"People who are clinically extremely vulnerable and their families are incredibly worried about the news of a new variant on our shores. For too long, the Government has ignored these people, their concerns around the vaccine programme and the lack of guidance and support.

"The Government must not ignore them any longer: it must be proactive in tackling this new variant and protect those most at risk. The clinically vulnerable deserve clear guidance and support from ministers instead of being treated as an afterthought.

"The decision to end the shielding programme - when many continued to shield - left our most vulnerable feeling like the rug had been pulled out from underneath them. It's high time the Government put support measures back in place, including getting on top of the utter mess surrounding third primary doses and introducing a shielding programme that genuinely supports those who need it."

Action Plan to Support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

  1. Urgently address the chaos and confusion surrounding the roll-out of the third primary vaccines for the immuno-suppressed

  2. Appoint a Minister to have overall coordinating responsibility for all CEV matters and establish monthly meetings for patient groups with that Minister

  3. Issue and promote updated official guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the current risks, including those posed by Omicron, and how best to protect themselves

  4. Create a new register of the clinically extremely vulnerable, which includes those who are newly CEV plus anyone who needs to be re-classified as this as evidence of the new variant emerges

  5. Establish a supported shielding programme to provide proper pay, not just sick pay, for those who cannot work from home, and mental health support and befriending services for those shielding and suffering from loneliness and isolation