New Variant Covid & Working In Lockdown 3
January 2021: Due to the severity of the current situation I will only be seeing clients face-to-face for urgent/emergency treatment only on a case by case basis
As I am sure you are aware the Covid-19 pandemic is a time of extremely rapid changes and it can be hard as a close contact worker and hands-on therapist to deal with the constantly-changing rules and situations. However, I will always try my utmost to keep abreast of the latest Government Guidelines and professional advice. As a Level 5 Therapist and CNHC Registrant I can confirm that I am allowed to work face-to-face during Tiers 1 -3, although I am more limited during National Lockdowns and Tier 4 Stay At Home to treatments for clear medical needs, both physical and mental health, as below.
On 4 January 2021 the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that England would go into a national lockdown with effect from midnight that night. The Government published relevant guidance on the lockdown requirements. Under the section ‘Businesses and venues which can remain open’ it states: “The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.”
The businesses that can remain open include “dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.” Under the legal advice we obtained during the November 2020 national lockdown in England, CNHC Registrants in England meet the definition of “other…health services, including services relating to mental health” contained in Section 17(o), Schedule 3A of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. The amended legislation on which Parliament voted today made no changes that section of the Regulations.
This means, as a CNHC Registrant, you can continue to practise in England during the current restrictions if you meet the criteria set out below.
In order to stay within the remit of providing “other…health services, including services relating to mental health”:
- You must only provide the therapies you are registered for, on a one-to-one basis to clients, for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing them pain or having an adverse impact on their mobility or their quality of life.
- You must be able to evidence that your therapeutic intervention is supporting your client with their condition. You can do this by recording their health condition and giving a clear rationale in your client’s care record for the treatment that you are providing,
- You cannot provide treatment to a client in their own home unless you have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional.
- If your practice is based in your own home you can continue to work from there as long as it is COVID-secure. You can find our advice on following government guidance on working safely here.
We cannot stress enough the severity of the situation we are now in, with a surge in infection rates of the highly transmissible new variant of COVID-19 placing increasing pressure on the NHS. You must exercise the utmost caution and exercise your professional judgement in assessing the risks. You must carry out and record a risk assessment on whether the benefits of seeing a client in person outweighs the risks. Practise remotely where you can and follow our advice on following government guidance on working safely which you can find here.
Covid-19 Screening & Symptoms
As per the current Government & Professional Body Guidance if you have any symptoms, even if it appears to be a common cold, then I will be unable to treat you face-to-face unless you have a negative covid test result. I will be happy to treat you once you are symptom-free or if you have been self-isolating once that period has passed. I will carry out a covid-screening test before every treatment and will be unable to treat you face-to-face if I deem there to be any risk of infection. I ask for your understanding in this as it is for your own safety and benefit and for that of my vulnerable and elderly clients, your and my friends & family.
National Lockdowns & Tier 4 Stay At Home
As a Level 5 Therapist any treatments during lockdown can be can be face-to-face if following the Government Guidance:
- Clinical massage therapy only (not relaxation etc)
- Clients must have a clear, clinical physical or mental health need (not just want) for treatment
e.g. injury, acute pain/pain relief, serious mental health requirement etc
- Treatment is required during lockdown and the client is unable to wait until it is lifted
- Other treatment types are unsuitable e.g. online self care therapy
- Full covid screening and protocols will apply as usual including online consultation and aftercare
- Treatment time: maximum of 45 minutes
- Full PPE to be worn: for me KN95 mask, visor, apron and gloves, and a mask worn by the client
- Access: clients will need to enter/leave via the front door and go straight to the treatment room without going through the house
Tiers 1 – 3
I can continue to work in all the new Covid-19 Local Restriction Tiers.
Tier 1 Medium Alert: I can work as normal with usual Covid safety protocols and measures
Tier 2 High Alert: I can work as normal with usual Covid safety protocols and measures
Tier 3 Very High Alert: face-to-face treatment can only be for a medical need – this can be physical or mental health related and I will discuss with you about this
The Prime Minister announced on 23 November a return to a tier system. Although less restrictive than the national lockdown the new three tier system will be stricter than the previous one. The new local restriction tiers are:
Tier 1: Medium alert
Tier 2: High alert
Tier 3: Very High alert.
In all three tiers “personal care”, the category in which complementary healthcare is deemed to fall under, can remain open. This includes mobile working.
Guidance on what you can and can’t do in each local restriction tiers can be found here.
The full list of local restriction tiers by area can be found here
Online Self Care Therapy
Choosing to have Online Self Care Therapy is an effective and Covid-safe way to receive treatment from me during lockdown. I am already offering online self care sessions for physical conditions and mental health issues for the NHS (North Kensington GP and Community Living Well) and am happy to do so for you too.
This method was developed and pioneered during the Covid pandemic for those restricted by lockdowns, shielding, at a distance or unable to visit in person. Self Care Therapy empowers clients to help themselves with expert guidance using specific online methods and techniques to allow relief from acute or chronic pain, improve mobility and assist with reducing stress or promoting relaxation. My online wellness sessions offer a full consultation to focus on your specific needs, and can include range of motion and orthopaedic testing if required. Sessions can include:
- self-care advice
- hot/cold therapy
- how to find and treat trigger points
- mindfulness and meditation practices
- breath work
These specialised online treatments draw on my advanced clinical massage, anatomy and physio knowledge and are designed to work over a series of sessions. Through these I can help you to achieve lasting results and put together a self-care practice for you to follow.