Covid-19 Post Lockdown Procedures
What the public should expect:
All members of my professional associations and bodies are required to follow a Code of Good Practice. This includes certain standards expected in hygiene and safety that they should implement at all times to protect the safety of their patients, themselves and the reputation of their profession.
In the upcoming post-lockdown world of public-facing business, the mandatory hygiene requirements are changing in accordance with the new national security measures.
Now, there are several steps that should be taken in addition to the essential high-standard health, safety and clinical hygiene procedures that is required of all its members. These are detailed below.
Please be aware that all patients (new and existing) are required to complete (IN FULL)
a new health questionnaire.
This will be e-mailed to you prior to your appointment and MUST be returned
before any treatment takes place.
Please take time to read the details below as they will give you all the information and reassurance you need to know that all possible measures are being taken to ensure the safety of all concerned.
Members should follow the guidance below to make sure they are ready to re-open their business doors to patients as soon as the UK Government permits.
Practitioners who are providing home treatment services should avoid visiting patients and protect themselves until the lockdown is completely lifted.
• Eliminate the Risks
Practitioners will under take a risk assessment of their business premises. They must survey the treatment rooms, the waiting areas, common rooms and any other spaces. There should be regular reviews carried out with regards to the risks of infection across their premises.
The entire working environment of a member should be treated with a thorough clean before they can re-open to the public.
Members should carry out a thorough decontamination with all the proper cleaning materials required.
•Upgraded safety systems
All members must wear the necessary medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE.) This includes medical masks, and where appropriate, visors, surgical gloves and medical gowns.
Where possible, masks should be offered to all patients (at a nominal cost for those that do not have them,) although everybody is expected to bring their own PPE.
Please note that the majority of the PPE will have to be disposed and replaced at the end of the work day, if not sooner and more frequently. The objective is to stop the spread of potential infection. Therefore, all registered practitioners should get plastic storage containers or bags for clothing as well as a contactless thermometer and a choice of contactless payment equipment or electronic bank transfer.
The social distancing rule is bound to stay in place for the foreseeable future, even after the lockdown is lifted.
Members should use hand sanitisers, masks (and gloves, where practical) on their premises. For this reason the working space, including staff-only areas, must feature signage that clearly reminds everybody to follow the updated hygiene rules in line with the country's efforts to recover from the Covid19 pandemic.
Hand washing should be not only frequently reminded to everybody but allowed to happen. Hand sanitiser dispensers should be available across the premises of all practitioners to help their patients take precautions with ease and convenience.
•Safety - thorough and visible
All members should keep their clients posted about the efforts they are making to comply with the new clinical hygiene, health and safety guidelines.
Practitioners should use every communication platform available. They update their websites, post on social media and send text or emails messages to patients.
Everybody who uses a registered practitioner or is looking to find one should expect effective treatment where the appropriate qualifications permit. In addition, the public should expect members to demonstrate that the healthcare and medical services they offer will be delivered in a thoroughly safe environment – newly upgraded to protect them them from any possible infections.
We strongly recommend that to should use the appropriate media to highlight their commitment to patient safety and to demonstrate the new sanitation steps they are taking to prepare their premises for a safe re-opening.
At the very least, the marketing materials used by practitioners (digital information as well as client-facing paperwork and literature) must make it clear that everything possible is being to enhance the safety of patients and the rest of the public.
As practitioners welcome their patients back to their premises we expect them to continue to affirm public trust in the health and safety of their practice.
Members should let themselves be seen how they follow their cleaning and sanitisation routines as their patients wait for treatment.
All members should be frequently disinfecting the surfaces in the reception area, across the waiting spaces and the treatment rooms. The patients should see these new routines being followed before and after treatments.
•Protection from the COVID-19 – timely and discreet
All members have a duty of care to prevent the spread of disease.
The practitioners should formally and systematically ask all their patients, new and established, about their Covidstatus.
If anybody comes into a practice having tested positive or displaying Covid19 symptoms we expect our members to ask the patient to call the NHS '111' number and follow the advice over the phone before seeing them again for treatment.
Before any physical contact, members should ask their patients to first wash and sanitise their hands.
Before any treatment is given, all practitioners should take their patient's temperature with a contactless thermometer which should be acquired as part of the preparations for re-opening to the public. The temperature reading should be included in the patient's file. The objective in this procedure is to detect any health conditions in the patient that require medical attention from other specialists.
Practicioners must continue to ask their patients about any Covidsymptoms after the first post-lockdown appointment. This requires a new disclaimer that explains to them the requirement to answer Covid-related questions in order to receive any treatments.
A member's duty of care also means a responsibility to check their own temperature daily before they see any patients and keeping a record of any symptoms they notice during self-diagnosis.
•Treatment rooms - secure and ventilated
All practitioners must ensure their treatment rooms are well-ventillated and kept closed at all times. Where possible, make this ventilation natural by keeping any windows open as much as possible. An extractor fan should be used instead of any air-conditioning units.
•Safe beds and seats
All practitioners should sterilise their treatment tables, beds and face cradles - or at least cover them with paper bed rolls instead of linens or towels – in preparation for each new treatment session.
We expect our members to use disposable covers between each patient. Couch covers can only be used if they are replaced for each patient.
All used laundry should be kept inside a lidded container until it is washed.
Patients should not be allowed to bring in their own bedding or towels.
All practitioners must wash all the linens, towels, uniforms and any other laundry used during a treatment session at high temperature.
The seats in the waiting room of a practitioner should be covered with a washable fabric and we expect our members to wash it regularly, or cover the seating with paper bed rolls.
All members are required to wear medical grade gloves and a mask whilst they carry out all cleaning activities.
•Always Medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE)
All members should be wearing medical masks, (and surgical gloves, medical gowns where appropriate) – donned in the correct order.
We also expect our practitioners to be alert to changes in PPE requirements as the Covid19 pandemic unfolds.
People are expected to have their own PPE but we ask all our practitioners to consider offering (at a nominal cost) masks and gloves to all their patients who do not supply their own.
Members are expected to take the utmost care in dealing with used PPE at the end of the day, as these should be disposed of appropriately as non-recyclable waste. Face masks, gloves, aprons etc. must be stored for 72 hours before they can be taken out for collection.
All our practitioners should perform their treatments whilst taking maximum precaution – this means they should wear a face mask and/or shield over their face as a cover against patient's breathing.
•Everything is cleaned after every appointment
All members should use a disinfectant to clean their clothes and anything inside their treatment rooms, as well as the waiting areas used by their patients.
They must use the antimicrobial gel products that are effective against coronavirus and which include at least 60% alcohol.
We expect registered practitioners to follow the instructions that come with each cleaning product as they carry out cleaning and disinfection, and to leave enough time for the products to work before touching the surface again.
Practitioners should allocate enough time between appointments to do the cleaning thoroughly. We recommend cleaning sessions of 10-15 minutes in between each patient.
All CMIR members are expected to wash hands and sanitise before and after every appointment with their patients.
On the premises of a registered practitioner, patients should expect to have the opportunity to wash and sanitise their hands when they enter and leave the building.
Patients should expect the waiting rooms to be free from unnecessary decorations, cushions and magazines. Water dispensers should be removed and we expect practitioners to ask their patients in advance to bring their own water.
Practioners should strive to minimise the chances of contamination by opening the doors to patients by themselves and to disinfect all the door handles at the end of the day or as soon as possible.
During the treatment sessions all practitioners must put their patient's clothes and possessions into a container which should then be sterilised or a plastic sealable bag which should be replaced between appointments. Members should find a separate container for storing their own belongings and which is sterilised daily.
In addition to their clinical tools, every surface that gets touched on the premises of a registered practitioner should be sterilised at the end of each day. Not only the door handles and hand wash dispensers but taps and toilet facilities.
Practitioners must regularly and promptly sanitise the buttons on the payment card machines they use with their patients.
We recommend that our practising members use a contactless PDQ machine and/or an electronic payment system to allow their patients to pay via a bank transfer or through PayPal.
We urge all practitioners to strive for win-win ways that nudge their patients towards paying for treatments in advance of visiting the premises.
To prevent queues and risks of infection in the waiting rooms, practitioners should consider checking in their patients and registering new ones online.
Members should meet their patients at the door to help them avoid touching the door handles. If any surfaces are touched they should be disinfected immediately.
They should set up the facilities that enable the patients to clean their hands, and put on masks if required.
The practitioners should give any take-home products (e.g. herbal prescriptions) to the patient while they are still inside the treatment room.
When a patient is ready to leave the practice they should be escorted where they can discard their PPE in a suitable container and use a hand sanitiser.
If cash payments cannot be avoided, the registered practitioners should follow a new procedure with their patients: an envelope should be given in which the patient places their payment and leaves it in a designated spot. The practitioner should handle the envelope only once – a the end of the day – and wash their hands afterwards with a hand sanitiser.
All members must formally check with their new and current patients about any possible allergies they may have to cleaning products, latex and powder. This information should be recorded on each patient's file as an update along with a COVID-19 disclaimer (see above) that every patient must read and sign before they proceed for treatment.
I hope that you will feel that the above procedures, practices and guidelines will give you the reassurance that everything possible has been covered to mitigate risk and to ensure your safety (and mine) but please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your time, patience and understanding and I look forward to seeing you all soon.