To shield or not to shield, that is the question? - NRAS


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To shield or not to shield, that is the question?


I take methotrexate and Benapali(etanercept) and have medication for high blood pressure. I have not received a letter telling me that I am in the "shielding group". My GP is convinced that I am not, as methotrexate isn't on his list for shielding and he has no information about etanercept. His advice is discuss with rheumatology re etanercept. I have received a multi purpose guidance letter from Sheffield Rheumatology Department, sent out to all patients and their helpline will not respond to any calls relating to covid 19. I have self registered on the goverment web site but heard nothing from them. I can not get any slots for food delivery, heard nothing from any supermarket and again today had to go out for my weekly shop to the local supermarket.

Should I be in the shielding group?

If so how can I get round this situation with GP surgery and/ or rheumatology Dept?

Is there a way to check if I am on this national list circulated to supermarkets?

I feel as if I am knocking my head against a brick wall.

18 Replies

Well I am on the same except high blood pressure tablets and I had a letter medium to high risk I live in Northamptonshire??? Hope you sort it out soon take care x

Mall in reply to Soundofmusic52

Hope you don't mind me asking but who sent a letter to you and did it advise that you remain within your home and not go out tompurchase food?

Perhaps the high blood pressure on top of the RA meds had pushed you into the shielding category.

It is all very confusing as different letters are coming from different sources. If you feel that you should be shielded then copy the chart from the british society of Rheumatology to your GP. You can find it in the pinned update post from NRAS on the right of your screen.

I am on MTX and etanercept (enbrel) but not high blood pressure tabs and I am going out and practising pretty careful social distancing. So keeping well over 2m from anyone, and washing/gelling my hands a lot. That’s what I feel comfortable with, but you need to decide what suits you.

Mall in reply to helixhelix

That's reassuring HH. The blood pressure is well controlled with medication so maybe I am not in the most vulnerable group, just high/medium risk so probably ok with careful social distancing.

I take low dose prednisone and methotrexate. Not sure where I fall either as this virus has been somewhat subjective in who it effects. Worry more about my husband who is a diabetic and overweight(dangerous combo).........I also know perfectly healthy people who have passed away. We take adequate precautions and pray.

That’s probably the sensible thing to do. I have not shielded at all over last year - partly as the concept doesn’t exist here and partly because I would struggle to do so. So have just been practical about it.

Hi Mall, I have found a reference to Entanercept on the following NHS guidelines - page 6/7 - might be helpful to show your GP perhaps?

Also the British Society of Rheumatologists guide would seem to me (I am no expert, of course!) to put you in the shielding section if you are on one biologic and methotrexate:

Maybe you can forward these to your GP? Good luck!

One thing to remember is all this is still theory, as there is no data on the susceptibility of people with RA to getting this virus, or on whether it would an automatically more severe. And as we have seen it is hugely individual, so young healthy people have sadly dies and older, sicker people have survived. So please bear in mind that something like 98% of people survive getting the virus and do not live in too much fear.

Hi, I am on mtx and blood pressure meds. I has the general ' work out which category you are in,' letter from the rheumy dept. On one flow chart I was in the shielding category, and on another points chart by the rheumy society I was social distancing only. So I have decided on self isolation. High bp seems to be a high risk factor according to a lot of info .

I know exactly how you feel as I am in the same place as you. Sorry I can't give you any answers but it does seem like all the letters haven't out yet. Hope you get this sorted. I going to speak my hospital again this week. Ard you able yo get supermarket home deliveries? Good luck and keep safe x

I’m on the same. Both RA and BP are under control. I did speak to doc who said it puts me in the mid risk zone. Not gone out though for over three weeks as I don’t need to anyway.

My colleague has a shielding letter and lives near me. Crohns and flaring for the last year almost, higher temperature plus the biologic meds. Think that’s what puts her in the higher risk category as it’s uncontrolled. Who knows!

I take benapali, methotrexate, and prednisone 5mg (although have been on higher doses) and also meds for high blood pressure. This puts me in the extremely vulnerable group so must shield. I have received no letter from NHS spoke to GP secretary who said they have missed lots of people and are very behind with sending letters out. I then left a message for my rhuemy dept who got back to me today and confirmed that I must shield. They will send me a letter and to GP to confirm. I’m a primary school teacher so needed a letter for work. From the table that my rhuemy department sent me I would think you definitely need to shield. If you can contact your rhuemy they should be able to confirm for you. Keep safe.

Seems like yet another case of lack of clarity.

It wouldn't surprise me if the next letter we get will say.....'every man, or woman, for themselves and the devil take the hindmost'! That should be clear enough. :-) I'm only joking of course................ sort of!

I received letter and flow chart today. I then called my GP as I had not received a letter from NHS she checked records and advised name was not on list it will now be updated she advised me to rely on letter from rheumatology and shield I am only on entanercept nothing else. If on any biological or mthx are high risk

Please see my other post as you can then view the flow chart which lists most meds prescribed for RA

I didn’t expect I would be getting a letter, I only started steroids in January, and my G.P. wasn’t interested so I registered myself on the GOV. Site on basis of age (eighties) and steroids(12.5 mgs).

I was contacted by local volunteers for help with meds. Delivery and offered a slot by 2 supermarkets. They are fiendish to use but necessary. I do feel for you having to brave supermarkets. My nephews are both shielding, not on lists, they seem to manage with nearest corner shops, and I have found a local Spar that delivers very useful.

Good luck from now on, the Botcher

Mall in reply to Botcher

I managed to eventually access a recurring delivery slot with Asda, I am pleased you are sorted now.

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