January 8 2021 by

Welcome to our latest news based on the government advice and guidance.

We hope you are well and managing during the new national lockdown (Published 4 January 2021, Last updated 6 January 2021) which the government asked us all to adhere to on 4 January 2021. This is in response to the growing concerns of the new variant of coronavirus and its rapid increase throughout the UK. 

We are aware of the discussions within the industry as to whether we are allowed to work or not and there is contradictory advice being given. As your PA our understanding is that close contact services are required to close as part of the national lockdown. The reason for this lockdown is to try to get on top of a virus that is currently killing in excess of 1,000 people a day and which is having devastating effects on the health of even more. Based on the government advice and guidance – now passed into law – it is now clear that no close contact work should be carried out until any such time that the lockdown is lifted or there are changes to the government advice and guidance. 

The government has also now updated its rules for close contact work safely

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services#national-lockdown

This clearly states this is “Guidance for people who provide close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers” It goes on to say “Close contact services are required to close”.

There is no discussion of caveats, exceptions or loopholes – if you work in the close contact industry then you must close and remain closed until we are informed that the government rules have changed.

We are reading arguments where people are saying they are part of the “Healthcare” services. We need to be clear on what constitutes a healthcare service in the UK – these are services which are regulated and assessed by CQC or are an allied health profession (other regulated healthcare providers such as paramedics, osteopaths, chiropractors). These are all statutorily regulated industries from which you can be struck off for malpractice. Our services do not fall under the remit.

The other clause that could give a way for some to work is that which refers to “services relating to mental health”. We recognise that massage does of course have a positive impact on mental health – however – the insurance take on this is that Mental health assessments should be carried out before any treatments given and if you do not have the requisite skill and knowledge refer to a medical professional. Remember that you are only insured for something that you are qualified and competent to carry out – this includes a mental health assessment, if you are not trained and qualified to carry out a mental health assessment then you cannot use this as a reason to continue with treatments. Even if you are qualified and competent to carry out a mental health assessment you should not assume that this means you can then carry out a close contact treatment, you would need to get clearance for this from both your local authority and your insurance company.

If you interpret the guidance differently you are of course free to discuss this further, on an individual basis, with both your insurance company and your local authority.

As professional therapists ourselves we understand and appreciate the frustration of not being in a position to help and support your clients. However, we must follow the scientific, medical and government advice and guidance and the greatest care we can give to our clients at the moment is to follow the government guidance, close our businesses and stay at home. There are breakthroughs in vaccinations and medical advice which gives us hope and light at the end of the tunnel. We are confident you will take the appropriate action and not put yourself, your client or family at risk. 

Follow us on Facebook for our latest updates. 

Stay well, stay safe and stay alive. 

Kind regards 

ThinkTree Team 

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This post was written by Admin KK

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