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Hi everyone,
Following information from UK Government and the publication of NICE guidelines, we have updated our advice on the coronavirus for people who have received or are waiting to receive a stem cell transplant to treat their blood cancer or blood disorder. Read our coronavirus guidance here: www.anthonynolan.org/coronavirus

Shielding Letter

Has anyone else had an NHS letter recently advising them to ‘shield’? I received one last week. It’s six and a half years since my cord blood donor transplant so this is contrary to the Anthony Nolan guidance and also the advice of my consultant. The letter tells me I shouldn’t leave my house and garden but up
to now I’ve been going for walks although I’ve avoided shops.
Any comments?

Comments

  • Hi Sue - I hope you're doing well during this unusual time.

    You've done exactly the right thing by following the advice of your consultant. They know and understand your medical history better than anyone, so they are in the best position to give you specific advice on how to minimise your own personal risk from coronavirus.

    The government guidance, as given in the letter you received, is applied more broadly to larger groups of patients - so it is entirely correct for you to follow specific advice from your own consultant, as you have been doing.

    As a side note, it is unusual for you to have received the 'shielding' letter so long after the official shielding period started in March - although a small number of other transplant recipients have anecdotally told us they are also still receiving letters at this late stage. I'll also be interested to hear if anyone else on the forum has had a similar experience.

    Thanks for posting this Sue and please do feel free to call us on our helpline if you'd like to talk through any of this - we reopen at 9am on Tuesday on 0303 303 0303.

    All the best,

    Tom

  • Hi Sue, it's good to hear from you.

    Like you I've had various letters and phone texts telling me as an 'extremely clinically vulnerable person' that I need to shield. I think the first communications came as the Coronavirus crisis was just beginning and was less than two weeks after my annual checkup, when I'd asked my consultant about the risks. My consultant had told me at the time that because my transplant was so long ago (over 7 years now) that I was probably at no more risk than anyone else as my immune system should now be sufficiently robust.

    The day I received the first text was the same day as I had been asked to start to work from home by my employer, not because of my clinical history, but because I can carry out my work from home. Co-incidentally that was the same day as the Prime Minister announced restrictions on peoples movements.

    I contacted the Anthony Nolan patient information team and very quickly got a response from Tom which put my mind at rest that the guidance was really intended for people who'd had transplants in the past 6 months and to continue to follow the advice received from my consultant.

    I think that it is so difficult in the circumstances to differentiate patients by the age of their transplants and any ongoing medical conditions, so probably quite rightly it is more efficient to send blanket information to all patients who've had such treatment.

    Like you I haven't totally shielded, but have been sensible in applying the rules imposed on us. I've been exercising regularly by walking my dog at the local country park, and have made the occasional visit to the supermarket, but I've been fortunate to have been able to work from home and more or less do my job normally.

    In a way I've found it reassuring that even though I'm at lower risk than somebody who's had a transplant recently, I have been recognized as someone that might require special consideration, and have had follow up calls from my GP and the county council offering support if I needed it.

    All the best,

    Steve

    NeilSal
  • Hi Sue,

    Yes I received a 'shielding' letter back in March from my GP & Hospital.

    It's been 6 years since my SCT, however in a way I was kind of expecting a letter as it somehow seems easy for the Government to put in place a 'blanket' over those most vulnerable. However, it really does need to be managed on a case-by-case basis, as the best people to seek medical guidance from (and who know your case the best) is of course your own consultant(s). My bloods have been normal & stable for many years now.

    I have not ventured to shops for the last 3 months, and am lucky to have family to do this for me to collect groceries/medication from the pharmacy.

    I live in a very quiet residential area backing onto woodland, so the ONLY thing I am doing at the moment is going out for either a 30 mins walk or 30 mins bike ride. This is so, so important for my physical health and mental wellbeing.

    I hope all the SCT patients (at whatever stage they are at) are keeping mentally & physically well during these uncertain times.

    Dieseldrinker62
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