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Covid 19 -Vulnerable persons ; Government ‘pause’ of shielding – return to work.

Wigan Local Medical Committee

Dear Patient

Covid 19 -Vulnerable persons ; Government ‘pause’ of shielding –return to work.

The Government has decided to go ahead with it intended ‘pause ‘ of the shielding  requirements  for persons whose medical condition(s), age and other circumstances  make them highly vulnerable  should they become infected by COVID19.  From 1 August, those deemed at highest risk from COVID19 could be called back to work if

  • it is not possible for them to work from home and
  • it is deemed essential by the employer that they return. and
  • the employer can provide a ‘ Covid secure ‘ workplace. It is the responsibility of the employer to demonstrate that the workplace is ‘covid19’ safe.

This  advice note  has been prepared by the Wigan  Local medical Committee* on behalf of your GP/Practice.

Your GP is unable to provide fit notes and individual letters to confirm whether  it is safe for patients who are in the Vulnerable group to return to work or not. GPs have no independent knowledge of  workplace risks or measure put in place to minimise them. Such an assessment is an occupational health matter and is the responsibility of the employer to obtain.

The principal obligation  is upon Employers to undertake a  return to work risk assessment  of vulnerable/shielding workers who cannot work from home, and determine whether the COVID19  risk reduction measures they have put in place provides a safe environment for them to return

Vulnerable persons who are asked to return to work are entitled to see the outcome of the risk assessment which has been undertaken.

The Health and Safety Executive  has provided clear guidance on an Employers responsibility in connection with the ‘pause’ of shielding

‘When shielding is paused, where it is not possible for workers to work from home, you must regularly review your risk assessment, and do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect those workers from harm’.

You may find the following sources of guidance helpful-

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/vulnerable-people-and-high-risk

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

You can also obtain guidance from your Trades Union of you re a member or the Citizens Advice  Bureaux.- https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Yours faithfully

Joe chattin

Honorary Secretary

Wigan Local medical Committee

*The Local Medical Committee is a statutory body which advises and represents GPs in the   Wigan Borough

Website: http://wiganlmc.org.uk/