Laura Sharman 20 October 2021

Pandemic had 'devastating' health impact on shielded population, says charity

Pandemic had devastating health impact on shielded population, says charity image

Urgent action is needed to tackle the unmet health needs and worsening mental health of those people asked to shield during the pandemic, a charity has said.

Research by the Health Foundation’s Networked Data Lab (NDL) warns the pandemic had a 'devastating and lasting impact' on the four million people who were identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’.

It found those asked to shield experienced a higher rate of deaths compared to the general population, and were 'profoundly' impacted by the major reorganisation of NHS services in the early stages of the pandemic.

It also reveals that the clinically extremely vulnerable population may have significant unmet mental health needs as they were at increased risk of diagnosed depression and/or anxiety.

Kathryn Marszalek, senior analytical manager at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Action is now needed by those planning the recovery at local and national levels to address the unmet need for NHS care and worsening mental health. Failure to prioritise the needs of the clinically extremely vulnerable population will inevitably result in further deterioration in their health, putting additional pressure on the NHS which is already struggling to deal with a massive backlog of care.

'Alongside this immediate support, further work is needed to understand the longer-term consequences for the clinically extremely vulnerable population, both in terms of long-term health care needs but also in terms of their ability to resume work and other daily activities. But this will be complicated by the current lack of high-quality data across the health and care systems.'

The research also said the way there were significant issues with the way the shielding patient list was compiled, exacerbated by the poor availability of high-quality data in the NHS and social care. A centralised algorithmic approach meant some people were not identified so did not have access to the support needed.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'On 15 September we announced an end to the shielding programme based on our enhanced understanding of what makes individuals more or less vulnerable, the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and the emergence of proven treatments.

'A range of support services continue to be available and we’ve invested an additional £500m this year to help people whose mental health has been particularly impacted by the pandemic. Our booster programme will ensure those most vulnerable to COVID-19 have protection extended ahead of winter and against new variants.'

Social care reform: what lies ahead? image

Social care reform: what lies ahead?

Sally Warren lays out four principles that should be at the centre of a ‘radically realistic’ White Paper on social care reform and asks if its vision will be the right one?
A bold local route to better mental health image

A bold local route to better mental health

Local Living Well sites put people with complex mental health needs in control of their support and encourages them to set their own recovery goals. The programme is proud of its success, says Tally Daphu.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent non-executive members of proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards

Do you have the vision to shape the future of health and care for people in your area? Nationwide
Recuriter: NHS

Lead Community Protection Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum + value award of £2,472 per annum
2 x Lead Community Protection OfficersCommunity Protection Team(PO3 plus an incremental value award of £2,472 per annum) Permanent Our Community Prote England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

School Organisation Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952- £48,663
We’re giving a platform to people inside and outside our community. Because, we’re not just home to the UK’s fast-growing economy. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Service Manager (Referral and Assessment)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£60,426 to £74,202 per annum
Can you inspire, encourage, and develop excellent social work practice to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Asset Management Team Administrator

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
The role is what you make it, and the more you put in, the bigger the difference you can make to... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue