Shielding letter: Part 2

This is that rare thing, Pollyanna Penguin trying to stay calm, measured and reasonable, and not ‘fly off the handle’ at the GP, since I don’t particularly want to get thrown off the practice register. (Although if the practice up the road with the much better reputation would take me, that would be a blessing indeed!)

So, for the delectation and delight of anyone that can be bothered to read this, here is my reply from the surgery this morning regarding my unnecessary shielding letter, and my response to that reply. (The response is the calm, measured and reasonable bit, or so I believe. What I actually wanted to say is not printable.)

Response from the doc


Thank you for the email.  We have been advised by public health england to ensure letters are sent out to all patients who are on immunosuppressive therapy.  I understand that this differs from the guidance as you have states from the Rheumatology website.  However being on methotrexate still suppresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to covid 19.  This is why we have been advised to ensure shielded letters are sent to all patients on methotrexate.  I hope this clarifies your concerns.

Kind Regards

Doctor X

My reply to the doc

Dear Doctor X,

Thank you for your response. I presume you refer to the 13-page letter sent out by Public Health England on 21 March. However, point 5 on page 4 of the letter actually states “People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to SIGNIFICANTLY [my capitals] increase risk of infection’. I would suggest that the reason the hospital didn’t send me a shielding letter two months ago is because I clearly do not fit into this category.

I appreciate the pressure that everyone in the NHS is under at the moment, and that you don’t necessarily have time to go through all individual patient records and work out who fits into this category and who does not. However, as previously stated, the Risk Stratification Guide from British Society for Rheumatology, produced to help medics to decide who falls into this category and who does not, makes it quite clear that I do not.

While I realise the extra strain put on to practices, with this extra job of having to go through records and work out who needs shielding, is not fair, I also don’t think it’s fair to put people on effective ‘house arrest’ for a minimum of just over a month, because there isn’t time to do a thorough job on this.

Please don’t feel the need to respond to this as I know how busy you all are, but I wanted to put my point across nonetheless.

For anyone with time on their hands or who is interested in this because they’ve also been asked to shield and don’t believe their eyes

Here is the link to the Public Health England letter sent out to GPs on the 21st March (also in the link above in my reply) – and yes, I do genuinely feel for GPs, getting this landed on them on top of everything else – but not quite as much as I feel for the folk being asked to ‘shield’ unnecessarily. (Note: the link will require you to download a PDF file to view.)


This does, of course, make it very obvious who I am (outside of Pollyanna Penguin) should my GP read this blog but a) that’s incredibly unlikely – they have better things to do and b) I’m beyond caring!

5 thoughts on “Shielding letter: Part 2

  1. Oh, my. My flippers would indeed be in a tither as well if I were you. It might be that your local GP was just following some updated direction they got from the powers that be. Even though everyone is struggling a bit these days, it doesn’t make it any more pleasant when you’re the one they’re trying to quarantine on false pretenses. At least Britain appears to be trying to do something whereas the US, which has began “loosening things” a bit has people running helter skelter in large groups without masks and without apparent any intention of trying to control the situation. Flippers (and, in Texas, spurs) crossed that we all live through this. Virtual, socially distant hugs.

    1. Hi Carla, The powers that be are the British Society for Rheumatology and Public Health England – and as mentioned in my letter, neither are suggesting I am in the shielding group. As to ‘we have been advised patients on methotrexate should shield’ people I know who belong to other GP surgeries have not received this advice so I suspect it came from the head doctor at our surgery – or perhaps the head receptionist? Who knows!

      We’re suddenly loosening things up very fast here too – well, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll give it a month after lockdown eases before I join in – 2 weeks to see what the government figures are – 2 more weeks to see what the real figures are when the press uncovers the latest government cover up!

      Virtual across the pond hugs to you too!

  2. suggested letter to doctor:

    Dear Doctor, I would like to respond but I lack a shielding device for using the telephone. There are 1,867 women who live here, that makes thinking difficult.Now to be clear my, ahh ahh, room mate refuse to socially distance. Just today she refused to stay on her own side of the room in fact she is currently sitting on a toilet putting on makeup made of dried beets and popcorn seeds. (it is a lovely decoration. to have).

    Also she and the other residents make fun of me in this environment. But i cannot wear underwear mainly because Ester keeps stealing them. If she could stop pooping hers I could have mine back maybe.

    But I stray off point. what i have to say is that once this is all over I will be happy to drop by and and get some covid. however i have already been 19 so it will be more years than that.

    Or maybe the judge will let me come by later? Can you help finding a new pair of fluffy pants? My hearing is in three days and I need right now my old underwear stink.


    By the way when I come by I will want to find a man. do you have any? I tell you 42 years with no more men seems like a lot. All I did was put a nail in his nail gun and i shot him between the eyes. Had he still been awake I could have claimed loss of my mind and had he lived i would have been fine. So think of me like this, and for Goodness sales come of me others. me out.

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