Our evidence to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry on COVID-19: supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Medical Officers across the UK identified the need to protect people who were defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to severe illness from COVID-19, developing a list of people who were advised to ‘shield’ at home.

A report from the National Audit Office published in February 2021, ‘Protecting and supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable lockdown, highlighted that a lack of linked data led to delays in identifying people as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to serious illness from COVID-19.

The Networked Data Lab (NDL), a collaborative network of analytical teams across the UK, established by the Health Foundation, is currently undertaking research to understand the experiences of those considered to be CEV, also known as the shielding population. The NDL led our response to this inquiry.

Our evidence to the Committee inquiry considers:

  • How effectively government identified clinically extremely vulnerable people
  • How government protected and supported vulnerable people
  • Whether government has learnt and applied lessons from its shielding programme

The Networked Data Lab was established by the Health Foundation and works with five partners across England, Wales and Scotland. View a full list of the NDL partners.

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