CSP seeks clarity on PPE guidance for physios working in non-clinical settings

The CSP is calling for the government to provide urgent clarification on PPE for physiotherapists, and other healthcare staff, who work in non-clinical settings.

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At present, the government's Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) advice for employees varies depending on whether someone is working in a health, education, leisure or other type of setting.

The guidance, which applies to all four UK countries, states that: ‘any clinician working in a hospital, primary care or community care setting, within 2 metres of a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patient, should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection, based on the risk.’

And the CSP is advising all of it members to continue to follow this advice.

However, many CSP members work within non-clinical settings, for instance in schools, gyms, charities, military facilities, prisons and a variety of other settings.

As a result, some physiotherapy staff may be working alongside non-clinical staff, such as teachers, sports therapists, exercise instructors and masseurs, who have received different PPE advice and are not subject to the same guidelines.

Advice for sports, gyms and leisure facilities

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Last week the government updated its Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities

This guidance advises that: ‘Covid-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

‘The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE.’

As a result, it is possible that non-clinical staff working in these settings could be providing service users with interventions, such as exercise classes or massage therapy, without the use of PPE.

Whereas clinical staff, such as physiotherapists, are being advised to wear PPE when they administer similar interventions within clinical settings.

CSP has written to Public Health England to highlight these apparent discrepancies and is asking for urgent clarification on the issue.

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