COVID-19 updated guidance for healthcare settings

The last remaining COVID restrictions in England have ended (24th Feb), in the Republic of Ireland the mandatory requirement to wear a mask was removed (28th Feb) and Scotland’s restrictions are due to end on 21st March.

The guidance from NHS England, the UK Health Security Agency, the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency, and Public Health Wales continues to recommend Type II or Type IIR face coverings in healthcare settings.

The advice also recommends that: “physical distancing of one metre should still remain, increasing whenever feasible to two metres, across all health and care settings”. The guidance continues to recommend that staff and organisations continue to undertake risk assessments using ‘hierarchy of controls’ measures. This should include an evaluation of the ventilation in the area, operational capacity, physical distancing and prevalence of Covid-19.

This information is applicable to all health professionals.  The Government link is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-management-of-exposed-healthcare-workers-and-patients-in-hospital-settings/covid-19-management-of-exposed-healthcare-workers-and-patients-in-hospital-settings.

There is a good ‘Nursing Times’ article, that shares concern from a health professional prospective of what is likely to happen post 1st April. https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/coronavirus/living-with-covid-19-what-new-plan-means-for-nurses-22-02-2022/

The guidance has also made a range of recommendations for occupational health practitioners working within the NHS, health or care settings. This has included re-emphasising that “prompt recognition” of cases of respiratory infection among health and care staff remains essential to limiting transmission. “All staff should be vigilant for any signs of respiratory infection and should not come to work if they have respiratory symptoms.

Full Infection Control Precautions can be found here Infection prevention and control for seasonal respiratory infections in health and care settings (including SARS-CoV-2) for winter 2021 to 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There are additional resources for your clinic including best practice hand wash, best practice hand rub and sample screening tools available via this link COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

In the Republic of Ireland with effect from 28th February, the mandatory requirement to wear masks was removed, whilst public health advice that masks should continue to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings remains. Please see https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/aac74c-guidance-on-safe-use-of-face-coverings/

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.

 

Please click here to download your copy

Traffic Lights Nov update

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