Lockdown 2 – updated traffic light system

We have updated our suggested ‘traffic light’ system of stop, proceed with caution and go, whilst advising that all specific laws concerning COVID-19 should be rigidly adhered to. We have also advised members of the College of Foot Health to adhere to these standards as well.

 

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Traffic Lights Nov update

Up to 80% of the population are estimated to need the services of either an NHS or private podiatrist at some stage of their life, to deal with health problems of the feet. Whilst parts of the profession have continued to provide urgent emergency treatments during the current pandemic, podiatry now has to work out new methods of returning to its additional roles of regular preventative care for the many millions of people, including many  vulnerable people such as diabetics, who need such care every year. Podiatrist Martin Harvey, chief executive of the national professional body the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said; “our members face the challenge that in order to work on peoples feet we are certainly not socially distant, so we have had to implement and develop new systems of working giving the maximum possibly safety to patient and podiatrist alike. Let me reassure the public that as regulated Health Professionals we are ensuring that we adhere to the highest possible standards of personal protection equipment and your feet are as safe as we can possibly make them in our hands. Members of the public can see the detailed guidance available to our members on the Institutes website https://www.iocp.org.uk

Dear members,

We have sourced some protective visors for your use. The visors are being printed by students in Hertfordshire using 3D printers. The students are creating the visors for frontline staff who cannot obtain, afford and/or access PPE.

The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, as well as The College of Foot Health, are proud to support the students efforts by covering costs of materials. Please note the visors available via The Institute are being sold on at cost price and no profit is being made by either us or the students involved.

Alternative visors and PPE equipment is available via our trusted trade partners as set out in May newsletter.

If you would like to order a pack of 10 visors, cost £10 per pack, and help support the students efforts please email secretary@iocp.org.uk

 

 

Stay Safe.

 

The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Position Statement

 

 Since the lockdown began, Chiropody and Podiatry services have been exempt from premises closure and it may be reasonable to assume that exemption holds for domiciliary treatments as well. We have attempted to help members with our suggested ‘traffic light’ system of stop, proceed with caution and go, whilst advising that all specific laws concerning COVID-19 should be rigidly adhered to. We have also advised members of the College of Foot Health to adhere to these standards as well. The Prime Minister’s announcement, asking people where possible to return to work, does not appear to materially change the caution that we advise members to exercise, as they will naturally be treating patients within a closer proximity than social distancing stipulates. We still regard it as essential that you have the PPE documented by Gov.uk regarding: ‘COVID-19: how to work safely in domiciliary care in England‘ and also ‘Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for non-aerosol generating procedures (APGs)‘ as well as ‘COVID-19: personal protective equipment use for aerosol generating procedures‘  Please note that we are unable to confirm that any form of drilling, be that unfiltered, vacuum or spray is NOT an ‘aerosol generating procedure’ due to variations in drills, their technology and patients personal hygiene and other  situation-specific variable factors. Note the dictionary definition: “An aerosol (abbreviation of “aero-solution”) is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic. Examples of natural aerosols are fog, mist, dust, forest exudates and geyser steam”

In short, please follow the newly revised official dictum of “Stay Alert. Control The Virus. Save Lives”

 

28th April 2020

Dear Colleagues,

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:

 

Dear Martin

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.

Kind regards

John Barwick

Chief Executive and Registrar

Open Letter to: The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP; Edward Argar, MP; Jo Churchill, MP; Helen Whately, MP; Nadine Dorries, MP; John Barwick, Chief Executive, HCPC; Christine Elliott, Chair HCPC; Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England; Beverley Harden, Health Education England
 
 

17th April 2020

Dear Ministers and Professional Regulators

 

An open letter

Podiatry – A caring profession in the shadows

 

I write further to my previous letter highlighting that whilst we as a profession applaud the wonderful selfless efforts of front-line staff in other areas of health care fighting the current dreadful disease, podiatry faces major challenges both now and for the future that could if unchecked irreversibly damage our profession and the care that we give to millions of UK citizens.

 

In addition to some NHS podiatry care, more than 50% of podiatry treatments are delivered in the private sector by private clinics, including some of the most advanced therapies for treating the feet and associated structures as well as the specialist care that we give to the feet of people with diabetes, infections, damaged joints etc plus routine foot care to maintain the foot health of millions of elderly and vulnerable people and therefore their mobility and consequently their general health and quality of life.

 

I must point out there is now a real danger that the private sector especially may find its businesses destroyed due to lack of support and resources, and therefore our ability to care reduced beyond a level of sustainability which could mean millions of new cases being presented to the NHS.

 

Let me be clear, I am not talking about just trimming nails and digging out the odd corn which is still a perception of what we do amongst certain other sectors of healthcare about Chiropody/Podiatry (although that is also essential if you cannot do it yourself) but diabetic amputations being necessary because routine regular specialist care has not been given, unchecked osteomyelitis developing and potentially killing people for the simple lack of a foot wound being knowledgably cared for and treated by a podiatrist and so many other specialist tasks that our profession quietly performs day in and day out.

 

I have been receiving reports from private practitioners of their total inability to source PPE, of local councils treating private clinics less well than local non-health related retail shops for grants and rates relief and other instances of inequality and recognition too frequent to mention. As for any prospect whatsoever of CV-19 testing for the private (and indeed NHS) podiatry workforce, I am not aware of any mention of this being suggested and neither is my organisation as one of the UK’s oldest professional Podiatry/Chiropody bodies.

 

I would request that as a matter of the most extreme urgency you reach out to UK podiatry and give us, or at least facilitate supply of, the tools, support and recognition to do our job. If private clinics fail then the resultant overload could destroy any semblance of ability to cope by either our NHS colleagues or by other area’s of medicine who are neither trained, qualified or equipped to perform our specialist care.

 

Yours In Hope

Martin Harvey, FPodM, PGC, BSc

HCPC Registered Podiatrist Independent Prescriber

Chair of Executive Council, Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

 

 

 

Open Letter to: The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP; Edward Argar, MP; Jo Churchill, MP; Helen Whately, MP; Nadine Dorries, MP; John Barwick, Chief Executive, HCPC; Christine Elliott, Chair HCPC; Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England; Beverley Harden, Health Education England

 

Dear Colleague

May I first express the hope that you and your family are keeping well in this challenging time.

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, but this is a matter that must be of concern to all registered podiatrists, hence the open letter.

Podiatry is a small, yet absolutely vital profession, more so than ever due to our ageing population and the consequent requirement for effective, medically valid care and treatment of the nation’s feet.  I do know from my own work on various projects for the Department of Health, that a minimum of 50%, perhaps more, of podiatry care is delivered through private practice and it is this area that I would like to draw your attention to at this time.

I know that I speak for my profession, when I say that we fully appreciate and  understand that scarce resources must be initially targeted at defeating Covid-19 by supplying front line medical staff with the tools  to permit them to perform their wonderful, challenging, and may I say exceptionally brave efforts. However, we also have to plan for the future of services such as podiatry, because  if that service fails it compromises the foot (and therefore general) health of diabetics, the frail and elderly and even the fit and well who may develop acute foot problems.

As private practices are businesses, they are at very real danger of failing due to lack of income, and whilst the governments initiatives may help individuals, the effect on such private podiatry practices with the continuing overheads such businesses have, may be irredeemable, not least additionally due to permanently losing clients in situations where practices are closed for extended periods. Accordingly, I am requesting that the private practitioner is not left out of consideration of being offered services such as virus testing and other support in a timely manner, which may assist individual practitioners in getting back to work safeguarding feet as soon as safely and ethically possible.

I would also highlight the number of HCPC registered private podiatry practitioners who have responded to the call for assistance to the NHS and hope that we have an opportunity to use our professional skills effectively. Given the substantial experience that we have with the elderly and similar ‘at risk’ groups, perhaps a consideration and discussion of how best to use the resource of private podiatry as a whole to maximum effect is worthwhile.

My best wishes for your continued health, yours sincerely,

Martin Harvey, FPodM, PGC, BSc

HCPC Registered Podiatrist Independent Prescriber

Chair of Executive Council, Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

 

 

Response: John Barwick, Chief Executive & Registrar HCPC 

HCPC response to open letter