The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) – of which the FHT is a core member – has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP – as well as to other business ministers, across the UK – asking for the government to provide clear guidelines during local lockdowns.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that over the coming months, it may be necessary for the government to introduce further local restrictions or lockdowns, often at short notice, in order to contain outbreaks of COVID-19.
Where such restrictions are necessary, the FHT and other core members of the IHC have asked the government to provide clear guidance to therapists on what they may or may not do during the period of lockdown. At present, the uncertainty and lack of uniformity means that therapists and other workers providing close contact services do not know what is allowed, especially when measures are brought in at short notice. This could inadvertently result in rules being broken through ambiguity and lack of information.
The IHC has requested that the government clarifies the following points (among others) when local lockdowns are introduced, so that therapists and other close contact workers can readily access clear information through their local council:
- Whether close contact services are allowed, excluding treatments in the highest risk zone (on or in front of the face)*
- Whether close contact service are allowed, including treatments in the highest risk zone (on or in front of the face)*
- Which contexts close contact services can take place in (for example, salons and clinics, in the clients’ home, in dedicated rooms/spaces within the practitioners own home)
- If those providing close contact services can travel to points outside the lockdown area for work purposes.
The FHT believes that this information, which local councils could update as appropriate, would provide much needed clarity to help workers in the therapy sector adhere to any restrictions and contribute towards the effectiveness of local lockdowns.
*If otherwise permitted by government. Currently, treatments in the highest risk zone are not allowed in England before 15 August, at the earliest. For more information, see www.fht.org.uk/coronavirus