Dear Colleague. Your personal responsibilities have already been clearly laid out by Prime Minister Johnson in his address to the nation on Monday evening. Now is also the time to consider your professional roles. As the Institute has members working in a variety of roles it is impractical to offer a ‘one size fits all’ set of guidelines and your own clinical responsibility as a Health Professional must inform all specific professional decisions and actions you take. In formulating your decisions please see the list of useful links on our website www.iocp.org.uk, plus professional organisations such as www.hcpc-uk.org as well as consulting up-to-date official Government and NHS websites. The following points are offered for your consideration in taking such professional decisions.
- Podiatry is a regulated health discipline therefore all registrants fall into the category of key workers with both the benefits and responsibilities according to such a group.
- All non-essential contact should cease but in cases that can be described as ‘emergency care’ to prevent the occurrence or deterioration of health issues, including those of the feet and associated structures, then care may be given at the clinical discretion of the provider.
- In giving emergency care the most stringent infection control policies and personal protection equipment (PPE) must be used. As a minimum that should include; full clinical dress (ie. scrubs) which should be washed at a minimum 60 degrees centigrade after use, respiratory protection which should be a minimum of a surgical mask to EN 14683 type II or above (not a dust or nuisance mask), eye protection, CE standard gloves, nil below elbows including jewellery, all items touching patient must be single use on that patient or autoclaveable and multi-use medications should not be used directly or should be disposed of after a single use.
- POM A, POM S, Supplementary or Independent prescribing medicines should not be supplied to anyone that the issuing practitioner (subject to them having appropriate annotation on the HCPC register) has not themselves personally assessed to a level that such medicines are deemed clinically appropriate. Such assessment should be face to face (with appropriate protection) or in emergency situations may be by video or similar link, but practitioners should record all details of such assessment bearing in mind that their actions may be subsequently challenged if deemed or claimed to be inappropriate by any party.
- No treatments should be offered outside of a hospital setting to individuals who are currently symptomatic with COVID-19 or who are isolated because of direct contact with symptomatic individuals due to the possibility of them being asymptomatic carriers. If you are requested to give such care you should advise the said individuals to request this via the official communication lines set up by UK Government / NHS. If requested by such individuals you may initiate such communication for them if you have received specific permission to do so (which you must record) and are willing and able to do so.
For latest information please see the IOCP website and please note that all Head Office Staff are working from home. In order to contact Head Office please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need to talk to a staff member via telephone please give a telephone number that one of our staff members can contact you on. Please do bear in mind the intense extra pressure on our staff generated by such working conditions and limit your communications to essential matters.
In conclusion, please stay safe, look after those around you and rest assured that the Institute will continue to be a source of quality information. Kind Regards, Martin
Martin Harvey FPodM PGC BSc, Podiatrist Independent Prescriber.
Chair of Executive Council.