28th April 2020
As we enter another week in this strange world in which a sub-microscopic bundle of RNA has hijacked Humanity, there are at least some green shoots on the horizon in respect of falling infection indicators.
The most commonly asked question from practitioner colleagues is “When should I return to work?” and that question encompasses several issues. First, naturally, is a question in return – “are you fit to return to work?”. You need to ensure above all else that you do not become a vector of infection yourself. The recently announced extension of testing, which as you know the Institute has been lobbying for since day 1, helps in that respect because you are eligible as a ‘key worker’. Then, “can you safely return to work, do you have the correct PPE?”. For that, some colleagues have stocks of PPE as routine, but if you do not the PPE market currently has been likened to ‘the wild west’ and ‘the international arms market’ – with justification because some of the dealers we have come across have inflated prices some 10 TIMES for masks for example.
Additionally, some colleagues have worried about their indemnity insurance cover – “is it still valid?” for example, which I am happy to report it is, provided you adhere to the IOCP ‘Traffic Light’ guide we have agreed with insurers, see our website www.iocp.org.uk. Then other colleagues have asked whether it is mandatory for them to undergo testing before recommencing work, if they do not fall into the current required category for testing of ‘symptomatic or in contact with symptomatic individuals’ – in respect of this I have kept in close contact with our statutory regulating body the HCPC and their Chief Executive, John Barwick’s, most helpful letter of today’s date to me forms the specific answer to that. The letter is copied in to the end of this document.
I hope that the above answers a few of the commonest queries, and on a lighter note I must say how much myself and a couple of other Directors of the IOCP; Bev Wright and Caroline McCartney are enjoying the webinars we are collaborating on providing – see our website and Facebook about our wed-inars and fri-inars (on Wednesdays and Fridays if you have not guessed) . Good CPD, but for all that not too serious or pompous we trust (as if we would! Since the Institute was founded in 1938 I hope we have always kept in mind that the word “Pomposity” DOES NOT equal “Professional”).
Anyway, I will close by wishing you all the absolute best, stay safe and well and warmest regards. Martin Harvey.
Letter from Mr John Barwick, Chief Executive and Registrar HCPC:
Thank you for your emails regarding the Government’s recent announcements concerning the extension of testing for key workers, and for sharing IOCP’s ‘traffic light’ guidance.
In response to your question whether testing will be a mandatory requirement for registered professionals, there is no mandatory requirement however we would expect any decision taken by a registrant to decide whether or not to seek a test to be taken in the context of standards 6.1 – 6.3 of the Standards of Conduct, performance and ethics. Guidance and advice is provided to registrants via our Covid-19 hub https://www.hcpc-uk.org/covid-19/advice/applying-our-standards/managing-risk/
As you note, the current testing only relates to antigen testing to determine whether you have the virus following presentation of symptoms rather than the antibody tests to determine whether you had the virus. Regarding the later, unfortunately I don’t have any further information regarding the government’s plans other than that is already in the public domain. We will however continue to update the Frequently Asked Questions section on our website to reflect questions regarding testing as the situation develops.
I hope this is helpful.
Chief Executive and Registrar