New information shows healthcare activity and outcomes for the shielded population

21 Jul 2020 12:57 PM

A new aggregate data set that provides information on healthcare activity and outcomes of shielded patients was yesterday published by NHS Digital.

The Tracking Healthcare Activity and Outcomes for Shielded Patients report provides a breakdown of the number of emergency hospital admissions, deaths and positive COVID-19 test results – for a subset of patients who have been identified as being on the Shielded Patient List (SPL)2 in England3.

A similar aggregate data set relating to a sample of the general population has also been published to allow a comparison between the two cohorts4.

This work does not evaluate the impact of shielding or identify reasons for changes in behaviour as it is not possible to reliably estimate what the emergency admission and mortality rates would have been if shielding had not been implemented.  The report describes trends in activity, mortality and positive COVID-19 test results for the subset of patients on the SPL.

All of the data in this new data set is at national level with no regional breakdowns.

The data has been collected from a number of sources including, but not limited to: the SPL, Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Office for National Statistics (ONS) death registrations data, Personal Demographics Service (PDS) data and Public Health England’s Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS) lab results5.

NHS Digital last week also enhanced its weekly anonymous Coronavirus Shielded Patient List Open Data Set dashboard to include a breakdown by disease group6.

Where patients are identified nationally as being at high risk of complications from COVID-19 they are assigned a disease group that corresponds to the categories set by the Chief Medical Officer for England.

The current open data set and dashboard, which includes CCG and local authority data and can be broken down by age and gender, has been enhanced to include a breakdown by disease group.

Notes for Editors

  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend.  During the 2019-20 financial year, NHS Digital published 285 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
  2. Patients on the SPL receive advice from the NHS and information is shared with other Government organisations to co-ordinate any other support that may be required. Information of how the data is shared is available here
  3. Shielding is one of the government interventions aimed at reducing mortality from COVID-19. In March 2020, the Government advised those considered at highest clinical risk of mortality and severe morbidity from COVID-19 (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, CEV) to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.
  4. To provide context to the outcomes associated with patients on a subset of the SPL, observations were compared to those of an age-matched general population sample.
  5. Please note that all data relating to COVID-19 presented in this release is reliant upon the quality and completeness of data.  For further details on individual data sources and methodologies used please see the Methodology section of the report.
  6. Information on the disease groups is available here:
  7. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 303 3888.