The aim of this page is to provide links to reliable sources of information and to our local unit protocols. We have a separate page providing information about COVID-19 for patients with kidney disease.


Unit Protocols – start here

Almost all of the relevant guidance can be found here; much of it is specific for NHS Lothian.


Information for patients

See our page on patient information about COVID-19 and the Kidney Care UK site.

Having CKD – particularly CKD4/5 – or an organ transplant increases the risk of death from Covid-19.  See OpenSAFELY, ISARIC and QCOVID studies (links below).  Talking about risk in the context of “normal” annual risk of death may be helpful (see David Spiegelhalter’s BMJ paper).

When talking about masks, see this great visual representation of how effective masks are at preventing droplet spread.


High-risk groups

In Scotland, “shielding” is no longer advised and so this terminology should be avoided.  Preference now is to refer to “highest-risk group”.   It is important to keep an accurate list of this group (e.g. for management of local outbreaks / prioritisation of booster vaccination).  Guidance about / for this highest risk group is published by the Scottish Government.

How to add a patient to the “highest-risk list”:  Requests can be submitted by clinicians or by patients.  Either way, e-mail and provide: forename, surname, address, postcode and high-risk group (and helpful to also give CHI).



The Renal Association have released a briefing document on Covid-19 vaccination for individuals with CKD.  Vaccination is thought to be safe and effective in individuals with CKD.  The JCVI priority groups for Covid vaccination are given here.  A more up-to-date list of priority vaccination groups in Scotland is given here.

How to expedite vaccination in exceptional circumstances:  See the guidance and referral form (excel sheet) on the NHS Lothian intranet.  Complete and e-mail the referral form to the address given within.


Treatment of COVID-19

Treatments are now well-established (e.g. see NICE guidelines – link below).

Early anticipatory care planning is vital for ALL patients.  Complete NHS Lothian Treatment Escalation Plan (TEP) on Trak.  The ISARIC 4C score can be an adjunct in prognostication.

All patients should be given the opportunity to participate in RCTs (such as RECOVERY).


Treatment in kidney disease

No major modification required to standard treatment.  RAS inhibitors (ACEi / ARBs) should be continued.


External links

Core guidance


Society guidelines


Education & further information


Epidemiology and data visualisation


Core trials / papers




Acknowledgements:  The author of this page was Rob Hunter. It was first published 17 March 2020. The date it was last modified is shown in the footer.

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