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Pausing shielding – what does this mean for people with pancreatic cancer?

Posted by: Nursing team 31 July 2020

Hello, I am Nicci, a specialist pancreatic cancer nurse at Pancreatic Cancer UK. As you may be aware, the governments across the UK are all pausing shielding for people who are at extremely high risk of serious illness from coronavirus. If you have pancreatic cancer, you may have been advised to shield if you are currently having chemotherapy, or have recently finished chemotherapy. In this blog, I will explain what pausing shielding means, and how you can keep yourself safe.

Shielding will pause from:

  • 31 July in Northern Ireland
  • 1 August in England and Scotland
  • 16 August in Wales.

Be aware that if there are any local lockdown restrictions, this may be different. Check what’s happening in your area.

What does pausing shielding mean?

Pausing shielding will mean that you no longer need to stay at home and follow the shielding restrictions you’ve been following for the last few months. You will be able to go out more, and should follow the same advice as everyone else. For example, you will be able to go to shops and places of worship. If you can’t work from home, you can also go to work as long as your workplace is COVID secure. You can read more about going back to work in our blog.

It is important to say that if you were to get coronavirus, you are still at high risk of getting seriously ill. So do stay at home as much as you can, and it’s very important that you practice social distancing at all times when you do go out. Stay 2 metres away from people you don’t live with wherever possible, and practice good hand hygiene measures. Read more about social distancing, and the current advice across the UK, and how to stay safe.

Why has shielding been paused?

The pause to shielding is based on the clear evidence that the risk of catching coronavirus is now very low across the UK. Shielding has been paused not stopped because if the risk of infection from coronavirus starts to rise again, the government may need to ask people to start shielding again.

What support is available for people who have been shielding?

We know that you might find this an anxious time if you have been shielding. It might feel strange to start going out more, and you might be worried about catching coronavirus. Remember that the government has paused shielding because the risk of catching it is now low.

The food box scheme will be coming to an end on the date that shielding is paused, because the advice is that you can now go to the shops. You may still feel unsure about shopping, and you will still be eligible for priority supermarket delivery if you have registered for this service. The NHS Volunteer Responders will also continue to provide support, and you could ask family and neighbours to help out for a bit longer while you get used to going out. Read more about the practical support that’s available for you.

We are here for you

If you are worried about shielding being paused, you can of course contact our specialist nurses on our Support Line on 0808 801 0707 or email them at nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk. They can answer your questions – about shielding, support available, or pancreatic cancer.

Thanks for reading our blog, we hope you’ve found it useful. We know things have been tough over the last few months. Remember that we are here to support you through the next stage of coronavirus.

Stay safe.
Nicci