Covid-19 (Coronavirus): The following guidance and advice was circulated by the CNHC.
The GCMT share similar views and thought it useful to share this information with our GCMT community.
As you appreciate, we are in the midst of an unprecedent global health crisis. We have previously issued advice to our Registrants signposting Government and PHE guidance and have also issued a joint statement as part of the PSA Accredited Registers Collaborative. However, the situation is moving quickly and guidance is ever-changing. In the light of the social distancing measures announced earlier this week, we are taking this opportunity to update our advice to Registrants and reiterate our signposting of official guidance where it remains relevant. We will be working to support you at this difficult time and will be issuing further updates to our statements and advice on a very regular basis.
Disciplines involving hands-on therapies
You may have already been informed by your professional association that in the light of recent Government guidance on social distancing you should cease hands-on therapies with immediate effect. Even if you have not been told that, CNHC's position is that you should suspend seeing your clients until further notice. It is a difficult decision to take given the impact it will have on livelihoods, but CNHC believe it is the right thing to do to assist in stemming the spread of coronavirus which can be transmitted by those who do not develop any symptoms. Safeguarding the health of your clients, your own health and that of your staff is paramount. We have a duty of care to do all we can to help end this world health crisis.
Disciplines involving a mixture of hands-on and hands-off therapies
For those of you whose therapeutic practice involves hands-off and hands-on methods – you should look at the viability of delivering hands-off only components if possible, without simultaneous physical presence, for example, by using electronic communications and video links.
Disciplines involving hands-off therapies only
CNHC's advice to all our Registrants practising hand-off therapies is to closely monitor the latest guidance issued by the Government on the Gov.uk website with regards to the spread of coronavirus.
As the situation has been evolving very quickly, the advice is constantly being updated. We therefore urge you to check official guidance on a regular basis. It is your responsibility to ensure you adhere to this guidance so that you are practising safely and not putting yourself, your staff or your clients at unnecessary risk. It is for each Registrant to carry out a risk assessment on whether it is safe for them to continue to treat their clients.
Guidance on coronavirus
We have signposted Government and Public Health England Guidance on the CNHC website.
If you are based in Scotland also check the NHS Inform Scotland and Public Health Scotland websites and for Wales see Public Health Wales.
We have also issued a joint statement as part of the PSA Accredited Registers Collaborative giving guidance to Registrants. You can find this on the CNHC website.
Factors to consider are:
- 1. Whether you or members of your staff should be practising self-isolation or social distancing.
- 2. Whether your clients can be seen and when they should be advised to self-isolate or practise social distancing.
- 3. Following advice on maintaining hygiene to prevent potential spread of the virus to yourself, and from you to, or between, clients.
Can you refuse to accept a new client or see an existing client?
Section C2 of the CNHC Code of Conduct, Ethics and Performance states that you are free to decide who to accept as clients. For existing clients, you must have clear justification for refusing to continue a client's care. One of the acceptable reasons for doing this if the client is putting you at risk. The CNHC Code of Conduct be found here.
You can include questions in pre-treatment questionnaires or when appointments are being booked to screen clients on if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or have travelled to at-risk countries. You should also ask them if they fall into a vulnerable group (see below), or live with someone who falls into a vulnerable group. You may want to follow this up with a text message or call just prior to the appointment to check the situation remains the same.
Should you see a client who falls into a vulnerable group?
People who fall into certain categories, for example, they are over 70 or are of any age but have certain pre-existing conditions have been advised to practise social-isolation for 12 weeks. These vulnerable groups are listed here.
Following this advice clients who meet these criteria should not be seen in any circumstance. People who live with a person who falls into a high risk group are also advised to practice social-isolation for 12 weeks.
We recommend you contact your insurers to establish their cover in respect of claims arising from coronavirus on your professional indemnity and/or public liability insurance.
Support for small businesses and the self-employed
HMRC have set up a support helpline for businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. More information can be found here.
We appreciate how much uncertainty and anxiety has resulted from this crisis. Everyone should take steps to support their mental health and that of their clients'. You can find very helpful advice on Mind's website.
Whether you suspend practice or can continue, it is a good idea to keep in touch with clients, enquire about their wellbeing and offer signposting to official advice if you feel they need it.