Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Zarah Sultana Zarah Sultana Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the safety of clinically vulnerable people with (a) diabetes and (b) other long term illnesses in the workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 has been developed by expert doctors identifying specific medical conditions based on what we know about the virus so far. The clinical evidence does not currently support classing people with diabetes as extremely clinically vulnerable, although they are on the wider clinically vulnerable list and should be strictly following social distancing measures. We will continue to keep this evidence under review.

Following the introduction of new national restrictions on 5 November everyone should work from home if they are able to do so effectively. If unable to work from home, people with diabetes should continue to go to work as their employer has a responsibility to make the workplace a COVID-secure environment.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak a range of guidance has been made available for people with long-term illnesses, such as guidelines available from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

NHS Digital has published a shielded patient list which is enabling partner organisations across government to support and protect those who need shielding at this time.

People suffering with long-term illnesses should consult this guidance alongside condition specific guidance, made available by Public Health England, to check if their illness places them at particularly high risk in the workplace. If people do not fall into any of these categories, but are still concerned, they should discuss these concerns with their general practitioner or hospital clinician.

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