General advice from the UK Government, NHS, and Others

Page last reviewed / updated 3rd March 2021

The key reference points for information and advice for everyone are the NHS website and the Government information hub​, which includes links to additional information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland​. These are regularly updated. 

Shielding and Protecting Vulnerable People

The latest Government guidance for people defined as clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here

SMA-focused advice is on these pages.

Government guidance for anyone who provides unpaid care for a friend or family member is here. Further information in the Personal Assistants, Carers and Home Care section of our website may also be helpful.

Staying Safe - Local and national restrictions, Bubbles and Social Distancing 

Government information about national restrictions is being updated regularly, along with guidance about social distancing and accessing green spaces safely.

Support bubbles enable certain households to safely expand the group of people they have close contact with. 

Childcare bubbles enable informal childcare for children under 14 from friends and family you do not live with.

Guidance about face coverings includes why they are worn, when to wear one, how to make your own and how they should be safely used and stored.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

Documents relating to the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme are published here including details of which groups will have priority, a guide for adults and information about what to expect after your Covid-19 vaccination

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice of 30th December recommends that clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are included in priority group 4. Carers who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person (child or adult) whose welfare may be at risk if the carer contracted COVID, should be included in Priority 6, alongside people aged 16 - 64 years who have underlying health conditions.

On 11th January the Department of Health & Social Care published the UK COVID-19 vaccines Delivery Plan. This explains the background to vaccine supply and prioritisation, who will be contacted and when. Paid Personal Assistants (PAs) are included in priority group 2.

On February 11th, it was announced that the covid vaccination rollout is starting for adults in priority group 6. This includes:

  • An adult who has a muscle wasting condition, including Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • An adult carer of a child / adult, who receives a carer’s allowance
  • The main carer of  a child / adult who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and is a disabled person, whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill 

You can find further information in the SMA-focused section.

The government want as many people as possible take up the offer of a COVID-19 vaccination when it is their turn. The process from invitation to follow up is set out in the How will I be contacted and what happens next? section of the plan on page 37. The NHS website includes information here on how you will be invited and what happens next. 

UK-Wide Measures

NHS information includes advice on how to reduce the spread of coronavirus and guidance on how to wash your hands properly, is here

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), most hospitals stopped or significantly limited visits and appointments. For the latest advice on using NHS services, including hospital visiting, please see this page or contact your hospital.

Government guidance for consumers on coronavirus and food, is here.

Testing for Coronavirus

The government have guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested. There's additional information about surge testing (increased testing including door-to-door testing) and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations in England where new COVID-19 variants have been identified. The NHS website also has information about testing and tracing. The NHS COVID-19 app,  available to download for free in England and Wales, tracks your movements and alerts you if you're at risk from coronavirus.

Self Isolation: staying at home for households with possible coronavirus infection

Government guidance is here. The guidance is published in several languages – scroll down to see. If you or someone you live with has symptoms, the NHS link is here.

If you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be entitled to a payment of £500 from your local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

Long Covid: Most people’s symptoms of COVID-19 resolve within 12 weeks. However, for some people symptoms can persist beyond this period or new ones can develop and may be diagnosed as 'Long Covid'. Health Improvement Scotland have published information, including: SIGN 161: Managing the long term effects of COVID-19  and Long COVID: A booklet for people who have symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19.

Work and Financial Support: 

The Government has published a range of documents providing guidance about getting financial support, working safely (at home or elsewhere) childcare and caring responsibilities, annual leave and sick leave. There is also information in this section of our website.

Education: The Government has published a range of documents providing guidance and advice about coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students. There is also information in this section of our website.

Mental Health

The Government has published advice on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of the public and of children and young people.

Other tips and advice for adults and children in managing the mental health side of dealing with the coronavirus can be found here.