We are all understandably concerned about seeing people outside our own household, and confused about what is allowed and what isn't. We have therefore put together some FAQs relevant to anyone thinking of visitin us at the practice.

You are not NHS - are you allowed to be seeing patients?
Yes - although we did close the practice completely when Lockdown first started, both Osteopathy and Chiropody are classed as essential services and were exempt from the list of businesses required to be closed. Chiropodists and Osteopaths, both private and NHS, are classed as key workers. As of July 2020 Massage Therapists were aslo allowed to reopen their clinics.

What safety measures do you have in place?
All our therapists are required to conform to the highest level of safety measures as set out by their various governing bodies. The Institute of Osteopathy (iO) has the strictest regulations of all our available therapies and therefore ALL our therapists are following their guidelines. At present, the iO standards are level with those set out for NHS COVID-19 wards and, as such, are actually far stricter than they need to be for our setting, as we are not seeing or treating anyone with an active infection of COVID-19.

We have made a number of changes to the practice - all soft furnishings have been removed and only disposable paper coverings are being used on our couches. Patients arriving early are not permitted to wait in our reception area, and are instead asked to wait outside or in their cars. We have screens on our reception desk and distance markers on the floor. All hard surfaces are wiped down with appropriate cleaning fluid between every patient. Therapists are wearing the PPE as required by their governing bodies, which in all cases includes a mask and apron, and, where needed, also a visor and gloves.

Where two clinics are running at the same time, appointment times have been staggered to ensure patients are not queuing to enter the building or pay.

Every patient is required to be triaged the day before their appointment to assess whether or not it is safe for them to attend, either by email or by phone - the triage form can be seen here. For patients coming back for regular appointments, this form must be completed ahead of EVERY appointment.

Do patients have to do anything differently?
Yes - upon arrival patients may NOT wait in our reception area. You must wait outside or in your car. All patients must wear a face mask or scarf over their nose and mouth, and long hair must be tied back in a plait or pinned up (ponytails are not sufficient). Please do NOT wear gloves - patients arriving with gloves on will be asked to remove them. When we are ready for you, we will ask you to come in and go straight through to our kitchen area where you are required to wash your hands with soap. You will then be taken into your treatment room.

Why can't I wear gloves?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not use gloves correctly. Gloves only work as an infection prevention method if they are changed between touching ANY surface. Wearing them and touching multiple surfaces, possibly even travelling from place to place, all without any sanitisation of the gloves between surface contacts spreads whatever the gloves have come into contact with from surface to surface. They provide a false sense of security and wearers fail to sanitise their hands between contacts. To use gloves effectively, a fresh pair must be put on between every contact with a new surface, and hands must be thoroughly sanitised before putting new gloves on. If your hands are clean, you then don't need the gloves in the first place. Anyone wearing gloves when they visit us will be asked to remove them and instead directed to wash their hands with soap and water.

What if I don't have something appropriate to cover my face with?
Washable, reusable cotton face masks are available at the practice for £4 each.

How can I pay - are you still accepting cash?
Payments for Belinda Eyers Osteopath should be made by contactless card payment.
Payments for Vivienne Jones Chiropodist can be made by BACS (details provided on request), cheque, or cash; where possible please try to bring the correct amount to avoid handling of change.

I am in one of the Vulnerable Groups as set out by the Government - should I still come to my appointment?
We cannot tell you what to do here - it is very much a personal choice based on your own perception of how much you need to be treated. We can however offer some general advice:
  • If you are aged 70 or over and are in otherwise good health, it should be safe for you to come.
  • If you are diabetic it is very important to have your feet regularly looked at by a Chiropodist. Therefore, if you are otherwise in good health, you should try to keep your appointment if you can.
  • If you are pregnant, we would advise you only attend an appointment if your need is severe, eg you are suffering extreme back pain that is preventing movement and/or sleep.
  • If you have any health condition that puts you at hightened risk of infection, eg your immune system has been weakened or is being suppressed by medication, we would advise you only attend your appointment if your need is extremely urgent.
  • If you have a condition affecting the heart and/or lungs, we would advise you only attend your appointment if your need is extremely urgent.
If I develop symptoms of COVID-19 after visiting your practice, what should I do?
The current evidence suggests the infectious period may begin approximately 2 days before symptoms appear. People are most infectious during the symptomatic period, even if symptoms are mild or non-specific. Therefore, if you develop symptoms within 48 hours of visiting the practice, you must inform us. If you develop symptoms after 48 hours but within 2 weeks of visiting us please let us know for track and trace purposes.

What happens if someone developes COVID-19 symptoms after visiting your practice?
We have been given very clear guidelines as to what to do if someone reports to us that they have developed COVID-19 symptoms after having visited us - click here to read them in full (under "Operating your Practice").

Therapists who have been in direct contact with the patient i.e. within two metres for 15 minutes or more, or within one metre for any amount of time and were wearing the required PPE are NOT required to self isolate.

If therapists subsequently experience symptoms of COVID-19 they will immediately self isolate and seek testing as key workers. If they test negative, they will return to work. If they test positive, they will continue to self isolate and follow the recommended track and trace protocol as set out by the government.
Should I list the practice as a contact if I called by NHS Track and Trace?
Please do NOT list us a contact in the event of being called by NHS Track and Trace. Your therapist sees you wearing the required PPE and is therefore NOT classed as an at risk contact. If you list your therapist as a contact, they will be instructed by Track and Trace to self isolate, resulting in them having to close their clinis for 10 days.
Do I need to tell you if I've aboard?
If you have returned from a Green or Amber list country within 10 days of your appointment with us, you will need to show us the relevant Negative PCR Test Certificate (Day 2 for Green List countries, Day 5 Early Release if taken or Day 8 for Amber list countries). If you cannot provide a Negative Test Certificate, we will not be able to see you until 10 days after your return to the UK. Click here for full information on when and how to book travellers' PCR tests.
Why the questions about Stomach Bugs?
In additino to COVID, we also to avoid exposure to any form of stomach bug in general, as they are extremely infectious. With this in mind, we are taking the opportunity to remind all our patients that a full 72 hours quarantine from the last bout of illness is required before visiting any health care setting or institutions where you are likely to be in contact with vulnerable people, as per government guidelines (here). Therefore, if you or anyone in your household as had any form of stomach upset in the 72 hours preceding your appointment, please do NOT come to the practice, and instead postpone your appointment until all members of your household have been sickness free for 72 hours. Where the stomach bug is in a child under the age of 14, the above 14 day rule applies.

Click here to see our full risk assessment