Physio First and the CSP have collated advice for members intended to enhance but not replace the guidance provided by Public Health England (PHE) and the relevant government departments.
As lockdown eases we are being asked many questions as to what restrictions remain in place for classes which are run from a gymnasium, church hall or other non-healthcare setting. We have been seeking clarity but so far all we have had as a response is:
'Currently there are no changes to the UK IPC [infection, prevention and control] guidance within health and care settings, including recommendations on PPE requirements and face coverings in healthcare. However, this position remains under constant review by both PHE [Public Health England] and the IPC Cell and the comments below have been noted and passed on to the IPC guidance workstream lead.
'Organisations who adopt practices that differ from those recommended/stated in the national guidance are responsible for ensuring safe systems of work, including the completion of a risk assessments approved through local governance procedures.'
Therefore, as registered healthcare professionals, we would advise our members to follow IPC guidance and continue to wear PPE when within 2 metres of a patient/client.
We acknowledge that this does not directly answer the settings issue and we will continue to push for clarity.
Guidance in Scotland
PPE guidance does vary in Scotland, only the mask is mandatory in the medium-risk cohort and the apron and gloves can be risk assessed. Scotland has now released updated guidance which give users better insight into specific situations and what they should do. The regulations around physical distancing are no longer in force so the language is now ‘should’ and ‘recommend’ rather than ‘must’. In many low risk clinical areas the distance has been reduced to 1m. However, face coverings are still mandatory in closed settings.
To find a wider set of resources for members working in the independent sector, visit our independent practitioners section.
When can I return to running courses in person?
While restrictions are beginning to ease we are being asked more and more about returning to offering non-essential courses in person. We are all still being urged to be cautious. You will have to risk assess each situation and ensure you are able to justify why training in person is needed. We would advise that all courses must be risk assessed and Covid safe measures put in place. In addition members must consider:
- What is the latest government guidance for individuals meeting indoors? If not allowed, why is this different?
- What Covid measures will have to be put in place? See our guidance on risk assessing the working environment.
- Why is this training essential while we are still in the midst of the pandemic?
- Will social distancing be easy to adhere to?
- Will PPE be required?
- What is the ventilation in the room like?
- What else is the room used for?
- What will the cleaning regime be?
Furthermore, where workplace in-service training remains virtual, members must consider the implications of their attendance at a course in person.
Similar considerations should be given to mandatory training and where such training is an update, you must consider whether it is urgent for patient and staff safety, or whether you can you justify delaying at this time.
Is my public liability insurance affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Members can be reassured that the CSP's PLI scheme provides cover for medical malpractice and professional indemnity liabilities subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. This means no special restrictions or conditions are contained within the policies relating to Covid-19. However, we direct members to be clear on the following:
- The policies do not operate where members practice illegally. This includes not adhering to PHE guidance on PPE.
- In situations where members are resuming services as restrictions lift, they would be expected to follow all recommended measures to ensure the safety of themselves, patients and staff. The PLI scheme does not provide employers liability insurance, so members with employed staff should seek separate guidance on this class of insurance.
(Last reviewed 1st August 2021)
Will my Business Interruption Insurance policy cover me for Covid-19?
Those with CSP should have recently received a letter from Aviva advising on their latest position and how to progress your claim.
The timeframe that we recommend you use is from the start of lockdown on 23 March to July 2 2020. These are the dates that we believe Aviva have accepted and are the dates relating to the publication of key advice regarding face to face consultations.
For those with other policies:
The specific timeline of what we advised when in response to government guidance can be found below:
You can obtain a copy of our template letter, specific to your country of residence by contacting us at the CSP.
Businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. However, we are aware of significant concerns from members with regards to their ability to claim.
When enquiring about what your policy covers or indeed how insurers are interpreting your cover, remember that your insurance broker acts for you, so do make them your first point of enquiry.
(Last reviewed 10 August 2021)
What if the practice can’t meet any contractual obligations (e.g. NHS or corporate contracts) because of the disruption?
Most contracts have a force majeure clause to help a practice if it cannot meet its contractual obligations, because of something happening outside their control; known as a force majeure event.
Covid-19 can amount to a force majeure event. If, because of issues with Covid-19, a practitioner is ill or the practice has to close, the practice can claim that they have been prevented from meeting their obligations because of a force majeure event.
(Published in conjunction with Physio First)
(Last reviewed 12 Jul 2021)
I have additional business questions. Where can I find answers to these?
Physio First is the CSP professional network for private practitioners. It is a membership organisation but at this time they have generously made business advice for any private practitioner accessible on their website.
Can I undertake Covid testing / Fit to Fly testing as part of my physiotherapy role?
No. Undertaking asymptomatic Covid testing of people is not physiotherapy and is not part of the scope of physiotherapy practice. These activities are not covered by the terms of the CSP PLI scheme.
Asymptomatic Covid testing must not be confused with the separate activity of delivering Covid vaccination, or other vaccinations.
(Last reviewed 4th August 2021)
Can I undertake Covid testing / Fit to Fly testing as a separate activity to my physiotherapy role?
Yes. You must ensure that you are educated, trained and competent in asymptomatic Covid testing. You should not hold yourself out to be a physiotherapist when undertaking this role to avoid confusing people.
You must also ensure that you have appropriate insurance in place for asymptomatic Covid testing. This should be from your employer if you are employed, of from another insurance provider if it is your responsibility to hold individual insurance.
(Last reviewed 4th August 2021)
Covid status certification
Can I restrict group sessions or individual treatment to people who have been fully vaccinated?
- No. The CSP does not support the practice of asking patients about their vaccination status. Vaccination status is a person’s private health information and is therefore special category data under the Data Protection Act. You must not use vaccination status as a factor in determining who can access your services as this may lead to an allegation of discrimination against you.
The Information Commissioner's Office provides clear guidance that sets out that if you are collecting vaccination status details, then you must make it clear to people how you will use that information via your privacy notices.
You can find more information and resources on how to remain safe while treating patients and your rights and responsibilities in the Personal protective equipment (PPE) – guidance, resources and FAQs section.
Additional sources of support
- Visit the Government or FSB website for further information about matters pertaining to your business.
- For support and friendship from our Physio First community, join and participate in our private forum on LinkedIn.
- Keep reading these FAQs as they are updated and as things change, we will be talking to Physio First regularly.
- The CSP Members’ Benevolent Fund (MBF) – for those experiencing financial hardship please consider approaching the MBF, a registered charity which supports past and present members of the CSP who are experiencing financial difficulty or hardship.
(Published in conjunction with Physio First)