We have created this dedicated COVID-19 section aiming to provide vital information to all members and osteopaths, based on the most current UK Government guidelines.
30 May 2022 UPDATE: Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for England and Wales
The English and Welsh governments have now removed the requirement for face masks in healthcare settings unless there is a known COVID infection or exposure to bodily fluids. In Scotland, face mask use is likely to last until July and in Northern Ireland, face masks are still encouraged in most settings. Members should now follow the national Infection and Prevention Control (IPC) guidance for their country (links below).
Practitioners in England and Wales, in line with the Osteopathic Practice Standards, should continue to assess for the risk of infection (of any type) and apply mitigations which in their professional judgement are deemed appropriate to protect either the patient or practitioner. This may be as a practice policy or applied on a case-by-case basis determined by the patient’s circumstances.
For those osteopaths operating in NHS settings or settings where NHS services are delivered, the Infection Prevention and Control guidance is considered mandatory.
National infection prevention and control guidance
4 April 2022: If you have symptoms of respiratory infection or a positive COVID test
The UK Health and Security Agency has updated its guidance on managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection or a positive covid 19 test result. It states that:
‘Patient-facing healthcare staff who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to attend work, should take an LFD test as soon as they feel unwell. If the result of this LFD test is positive, they are advised not to attend work for 5 days.
They can return to work when they have had 2 consecutive negative LFD test results (taken at least 24 hours apart). The first LFD test should only be taken 5 days after the day their symptoms started.
If both LFD tests results are negative, they may return to work immediately after the second negative LFD test result, provided they meet the criteria on the guidance and the staff member feels well enough to work, and they do not have a high temperature.’
For more information and guidance for the devolved nations:
Do patients have to wear a face-covering during osteopathic consultations/treatment?
Wearing masks by patients is now a personal choice. If however on the assessment you consider there is a risk of infection (of any type) you may apply mitigations which in your professional judgement are deemed appropriate to protect either the patient or practitioner. This may be as a practice policy or applied on a case-by-case basis determined by the patient’s circumstances.
What is the guidance on the use of PPE in osteopathic practice?
In England and Wales, the National Infection prevention and control guidance does not require the use of PPE, unless there is a known COVID infection or risk of exposure to bodily fluids (e.g blood or urine). In Scotland, face mask use is likely to last until July and in Northern Ireland, face masks are still encouraged in most settings. Members should now follow the national Infection and Prevention Control (IPC) guidance for their country (links below).
What is the current guidance on the pre-screening of patients?
We are suggesting a relaxation of the full pre-screening questions that were applied during the pandemic and suggest the inclusion of an overall pre-appointment communication to patients (by whichever means you normally communicate ) that includes information that you should not visit if you have symptoms of infection, such COVID and or other respiratory/flu-like conditions.
Am I insured to provide telephone and video consultations?
If you have the iO’s professional liability insurance, we can confirm that you will be insured for telephone and video consultations if you follow the guidance for recording patient interactions as outlined in our telephone and video consultation advice guide. This includes new patients for which you should undertake a full case history as you would do at an in-clinic session.
If you are insured with another provider, please contact your respective broker to confirm the level of cover.
What if I am symptomatic of COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should follow current government guidance on managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection or positive COVID-19 test.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: The safety of the public and our members is of paramount importance, and the iO is following the UK Government’s advice. Any advice provided on this page is current as of the date of publishing, although such guidance may change quickly at short notice. The situation is unprecedented and there may not yet be definitive answers available in some cases. However, we will do our utmost to support our members and the profession throughout the period.