Physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs) across the UK will need to vary their practice and provide the NHS with support in different ways in response to Covid-19.
This is the message to all AHPs and AHP support workers, in a letter signed by their professional health bodies, the Health and Care Professions Council and the Chief AHP Officers from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The letter warns that the NHS and the wider health and care services in all four nations will face extreme pressure as the UK enters into the ‘delay phase’ of tackling the pandemic.
‘This pressure will inevitably be exacerbated by staff shortages due to sickness or caring responsibilities,’ the letter states.
‘It will be a challenge, but we are confident that allied health professionals (AHPs) and their support workforce will respond rapidly and professionally.’
A need to depart from established procedures
As a result, AHPs and service providers will need to adopt a flexible approach, the letter says, and use rational decision-making to provide varying forms of practice.
‘It is the responsibility of the organisations in which you work to ensure you are supported to do this,’ the letter advises.
‘They must bear in mind that clinicians may need to depart, possibly significantly, from established procedures to care for people in the unique and highly challenging, but time bound circumstances, of the peak of an epidemic.’
Under these circumstances, the normal expectations of employers, professional bodies, healthcare regulators and national NHS organisations, with regard to AHPs and support workers, will become more flexible on account of the emergency situation.
We want to assure colleagues that we recognise this [situation] will require temporary changes to practice and that regulators and others will take this into account.
Commenting on the letter, CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said: ‘This advice from all four Chief Officers, the regulator and the AHP professional bodies is very welcome.
‘These are exceptional times, which require a flexible response, and the CSP continues to provide advice and support to its members in line with the scientific advice from the government as it is updated.’
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