Since the beginning of the pandemic lockdown on 23rd March 2020, osteopathic practices were advised to only provide emergency appointments (if they were comfortable to do so). As I felt we really didn’t know what we were dealing with at that time I chose to temporarily close the practice and negate risk.
I have been working hard on putting strict protocols in place to offering face to face appointments where remote consultations are not possible. Our clinic policy has been formulated from the culmination of information and advice given by:
- Public Health England
- HM Government
- World Health Organisation
- General Osteopathic Council
- Institute of Osteopathy
Following the Government legislation (4th November 2020) which put in place a second national lockdown for England on Thursday 5 November, restricting social interactions and non-essential business services. The legislation allows the public to continue to access medical services, including osteopathic services, throughout this period and replicates previous legislation that identifies osteopaths as essential workers in the provision of healthcare services.
It was a key message of the Prime Minister’s address on 31st October 2020, that the public should continue to seek the health services they need, keep scheduled appointments and not postpone seeking appropriate care – which underlines the importance placed on individuals accessing the care they need despite social restrictions.
The third lockdown, announced 4th January 2021 afforded our clinic to continue to remain open. The public health guidance for operating in community healthcare settings has not changed with the announcement of the national lockdowns. As was the case in the previous national lockdowns, healthcare settings can continue to operate under COVID secure measures and people can leave home to seek care for their health as needed.
In order to continue to manage and minimise risks to me, you and the staff in our building there remains a change in protocol for those requesting appointments. All patients prior to booking an appointment will be asked a series of pre-screening questions relating to Covid-19 to ascertain whether it’s appropriate for an appointment to be offered.
If you are in the ‘vulnerable’ category i.e., certain medical conditions, over 70, immunocompromised – you may want to consider risks vs travelling for treatment?
I’m asking all patients to only enter the building at your appointment time to avoid unnecessary waiting in our reception area. On entry I will ask you to use the hand sanitiser at the door (irrespective of whether you have just sanitised getting out of your car). Your temperature will be taken by an ‘infrared no touch forehead reader’ – providing the result shows no fever you will continue for treatment.
Perhaps the biggest change is how you will see me attired. In order to treat you, I’m sure you would agree, it’s impossible to observe social distancing so this requires me to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition to my usual clinic attire, I will be wearing glasses(optional), a face mask, gloves and a plastic disposable apron – thus minimising risk where possible.
I would like to reassure all my patients that we do have plenty of measures in place, with hand sanitisers in reception and these are also dotted around the building. The clinic is thoroughly cleaned after every patient with all surfaces including door handles, chairs and table tops sanitised after every patient. Appointment timings have been structured to allow full aeration of the clinic room for a minimum of 10 minutes between patients. I will not be using soft furnishings such as towels and I would therefore ask that you wear appropriate (loose fitting) clothing that will allow me to treat you accordingly – clothing will stay on where possible. You are free to bring your own towel if you’d prefer. I ask that you to wear a face mask on entry to, and whilst in, the building.
Our clinic protocols remain in place and are under constant review.
If this policy raises any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Lisa Ives M.Ost PgCACE FSCCO
Lisa Ives Osteopathy