Associate members – coronavirus FAQs

This collection of FAQs covers some of the key issues that have been raised to date by associate members. They will be regularly updated as advice changes or new issues emerge.

The FAQs cover the following:

Supporting the frontline (as a support worker):

I am being redeployed to help with patients on ICU. I feel worried that I don’t have the skills to work in this area. What should I do?

  • Wherever you are asked to work at this time, you should be inducted to a new area and be given the necessary training and support to be competent with the tasks and responsibilities you are asked to undertake.
  • If you are not given support in the form of an induction and training, you should raise this immediately with your line manager and if necessary seek support from your CSP steward or workplace rep.

     

I work outside the NHS, and would like to help out. How do I join the temporary NHS workforce

Am I insured to undertake tasks and activities outside of my normal role and job description during this time?

  • Yes, if you are employed, your employer's vicarious liability will cover you for any tasks and activities you are required to do as part of your role, including those that you are being required to do temporarily.

  • If you are in doubt about whether a task has been delegated then check with your manager or registered professional supervising you.


     

What do I do if appropriate PPE is not provided?

  • Your employer has a legal responsibility to protect your health and safety at work. This includes you have access to the appropriate PPE for the interventions you are being asked to provide and the setting you work in. 
  • For more information, please see our PPE guidance and FAQs.

     

I am worried that patients in recovery are not being offered suitable rehabilitation locally. What should I do?

  • Rehabilitation for COVID-19 patients at all stages – including in the community - is critical to patient flow, freeing up beds and capacity to treat critically ill patients and preventing readmission to hospital.
     
  • Physiotherapy managers should ensure that their expertise is being fully used by local health system leaders so that rehabilitation needs for COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients are identified and met early on.
     
  • There is a risk that redeploying too many physiotherapists and support workers into acute care at this time, could leave rehabilitation services too understaffed to support discharge, ongoing care out of hospital and prevention of admission. If rehabilitation services are understaffed, this could risk the lives and quality of life for post COVID-19 patients.
     
  • Community rehabilitation for patients who are not recovering from COVID-19 will still continue throughout the pandemic, with face to face and /or remote consultations and support options, based on need and risk.
     
  • If you are concerned about patients’ rehabilitation needs not being met, including COVID-19 patients, you should work with your management locally to consider and propose solutions.

  • If you have gaps in your team or if you need to increase staffing to meet demand, the temporary NHS workforce, including physiotherapy staff from private practice, those returning to practice and students may be very well suited to providing physiotherapy in the community.

  • Access to high quality, timely and appropriate rehabilitation is a priority area for the CSP and we are seeking to influence at every level. To be able to do this we need to know from members what is happening on the ground.

  • If you are still concerned you should speak to your local CSP steward or workplace rep, and also inform the CSP's enquiries team by email enquiries@csp.org.uk or call 020 7306 6666.

     

Supporting the frontline (as a middle year student):

I am a student joining the Band 3 workforce. What can I do to prepare?

Capabilities and scope of practice:

What can my employer ask me to do and can I say no?

I work in the community and at the moment I am not having regular face to face contact with my line manager. Is it okay if my line manager delegates and supports me over the phone?

  • Yes. It is not necessary to have face to face delegation, support and supervision – this can happen remotely such as over the phone.
  • The most important thing is that you do not have tasks, activities and responsibilities delegated to you that you are not competent and confident to carry out and that you have easy access by phone or other means to a registered healthcare professional to feedback, ask for support, or raise questions and concerns.

  • This does not necessarily need to be a member of the same profession or your line manager but someone who is a named individual to support you.


     

We’re under so much pressure and I’ve been asked to complete patient assessments as part of my role, can I do that?

  • Yes, if it is in the scope of the role that you are working in; you are competent to do this and it has been delegated to you by a registered health care professional. The registered healthcare professional retains overall responsibility for the patient’s care including their decision to delegate patient assessment to you.
  • If you work in the following bands, you can do the following;

Band 3 commonly contribute to elements of simple assessment for patients with straightforward and non-complex episodes of care e.g. assessment for walking aid provision.

Band 4 commonly contribute to an entire assessment of new patients where their care is routine and protocol led.


 

I’ve been asked to support both new Band 5 physiotherapists and student physiotherapists working on placement in Band 3 roles. Should this be part of my role?

  • Yes. All staff, whatever their role, can support new and less experienced team members.
  • You should not be expected to undertake any teaching and training of tasks and responsibilities that are not part of your job role and personal competence.
  • Support workers have an abundance of core and transferrable skills and are extremely capable of supporting learners in practice. You may be asked to lead on other aspects of support such as induction and pastoral care.
  • If you feel you are being asked to provide teaching, training and support that is outside of your competence and scope of practice, you should raise this with your line manager and if needed with your CSP steward or workplace rep.

     

I’ve been asked to teach and train new staff and carers, I’m worried that I will be accountable if they do something wrong.  What should I do?

  • You should not be expected to undertake any teaching and training of tasks and responsibilities that are not part of your job role and personal competence.
  • Where the tasks and responsibilities you have been asked to teach are in the scope of your role and competence, you are only accountable for the quality and content of what you teach and for assessing competence at that single point in time.
  • You are not accountable for the actions and decisions of the people you teach and train when they work with patients. The people you teach and train will hold accountability for their actions and decisions themselves.

     

Wellbeing:

I am worried about my own health and exposure to COVID-19. What should I do?

  • With the support of your CSP steward or workplace rep you should raise concerns to your line manager who should undertake a risk assessment.
  • Following carrying out a risk assessment, your line manager should work with you, your CSP steward and Occupational Health team (if necessary) to ensure that you are supported to work in alternative ways if needed and to assure your health and safety.
  • For more information, please see our section on vulnerable workers.

     

I am pregnant what should I do?

I have asthma what should I do?

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