We want you to know that, despite the unprecedented global situation regarding Covid-19, we are still available at Heartburn Cancer UK if you have any questions or concerns about Barrett's oesophagus or oesophageal cancer.  As per the government advice regarding social distancing we are working remotely, however, we can still be contacted by e mail [email protected]

If you prefer to phone our staff are able to take a message and we can call you back as soon as we are able. Our number is 01256 338668.

Planned changes in government advice for those who have been shielding

At the daily press briefing on Monday 22nd June the government announced plans to ease the guidance for more than 2 million people who have been shielding.  The planned changes and the dates they will come into effect are summarised here.

The UK Government has set out a roadmap for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.  For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August , subject to clinical evidence.  Shielding and other advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory.

What are the changes?

Recently, the UK Government advised that you can spend time outdoors, if you wish, with your own household, or if you live alone with another household. Following this, and alongside current scientific and medical advice the UK Government is planning to relax shielding guidance in stages. From 6 July, the guidance will change so you can meet in groups of up to six people from outside your household – outdoors with social distancing. For example, you might want to enjoy a summer BBQ outside at a friend’s house, but remember it is still important to maintain social distancing and you should not share items such as cups and plates. If you live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), you will be able to form a support bubble with another household.  From 1 August, you will no longer need to shield, and the advice will be that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue maintaining rigorous social distancing.

Why is the guidance changing now?

The roadmap has been developed in line with the latest scientific and medical advice and with the safety and welfare of those who are shielding in mind. Current statistics show that the rate of catching coronavirus in the community continues to decrease. On average less than 1 in 1,700 in our communities are estimated to have the virus, down from 1 in 500 four weeks ago. Unless advised otherwise by your clinician, you are still in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category and should continue to follow the advice for that category, which can be found here. The virus will be monitored continuously over coming months and, if it spreads too much, you may be advised to shield again.

It is essential to remember that, if you have any questions about your care at this time you should speak to your GP or medical team.

Government advice is that people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group should continue to access the NHS services they need during this time. This may be delivered in a different way or in a different place than you are used to, for example via an online consultation, but if you do need to go to hospital or attend another health facility for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place

At this difficult time we continue to work at HCUK to raise awareness of the importance of recognising and acting upon common symptoms which could be indicators of oesophageal cancer.  If you are able to donate to assist our work and ensure that, even during the crisis caused by Covid-19, we can continue to raise awareness we would be extremely grateful.

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