Saturday, 13 February 2021

Why I am staying at home....

I thought I would write this post as there has been much confusion in my line of work caused by the mention of 'other medical or health services' in the following government guidance:


 You Must Stay At Home, except where noted below

Exception 4: medical need
(7) Exception 4 is that it is reasonably necessary for Persons to leave or be outside Their home—
(a) to seek medical assistance, including to take any medical tests, be vaccinated or access any of the services referred to in paragraph 17 of the Schedule;

Paragraph 17: dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services which incorporate personal care services and treatments required by those with disabilities and services relating to mental health


However, although important for mental and physical health and rehabilitation, massage therapy is not counted as one of the health services and is not defined as medical. It is not included in the list of allied health professions considered as essential. More to the point the guidance explicitly lists massage therapists as one of the close contact services that must close (see below). My association therefore decided that the 'other medical and health services' is not applicable to us. A treatment from me involves being close to each other for over fifteen minutes and I feel the associated risk cannot be justified whilst infection rates are so high. I so want to work, but I agree with the statement below from my Professional Association and will stay at home until given the green light to return to my treatment room. 

Meanwhile I am still available if anyone wants advice over aches and pains, or just a listening ear. Do take care of yourself, I look forward to when we can meet again.

 Dear ISRM Members,

We are aware that this evening certain Professional Associations and the CNHC have changed their advice regarding level 4 & 5 therapists working during this national lockdown.
The ISRM’s position is that nothing has changed since we delivered our latest guidance on 4th January, and as such our members should not provide face to face appointments at this time.
As a Professional Association we exist to represent the best interests of our members for their studies and their businesses. We also have a public duty to take account of the health of our members, their clients and the community at large. We take this duty extremely seriously.
In order to provide our members with as much background to our decision as possible, we will share the below, which shows how legislation and Government guidance interact;
Legislation (Remaining the same as November)
You Must Stay At Home, except where noted below
Exception 4: medical need
(7) Exception 4 is that it is reasonably necessary for Persons to leave or be outside Their home—
(a) to seek medical assistance, including to take any medical tests, be vaccinated or access any of the services referred to in paragraph 17 of the Schedule;
Paragraph 17: dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services which incorporate personal care services and treatments required by those with disabilities and services relating to mental health,
Guidance (updated 6th January)
Close Contact Service Must Close
This includes hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers
Relationship between Legislation & Guidance (Directly quoted from the Government)
To find out exactly what the rules are during the coronavirus pandemic, you need to look at both legislation and government guidance. Legislation sets out legal obligations and restrictions that are enforceable by law. If you do not abide by the legislation you are breaking the law. Guidance and advice is likely to be based on legislation (in which case it will be legally binding) and it might offer the best or most appropriate way to adhere to the law.
The law is what you must do; the guidance might be a mixture of what you must do and what you should do.
Some Figures For Consideration
When we restarted work in July, the incidence of covid in the UK was less than 1 in 1000
The November lockdown came in because infection rates were in the region of 1 in 100
As of January 6th, in England the incidence is 1 in 50 with hot spots of 1 in 30
In addition we know that the latest strain is 50% - 70% more infectious, which was not the case in November. Our hospitals have more covid patients than at any time during the entire pandemic (30,000 as of 6th Jan). Life saving treatments are being stopped. We are at Covid-19 Alert Level 5, indicating that the NHS may be overrun within the next 21 days without significant changes. We were at Covid Alert Level 3 when we restarted in July.
We are in Lockdown and the very clear message is;
STAY HOME, PROTECT THE NHS, SAVE LIVES
During normal times, we hope that you select the Professional Association that you want to represent you because you agree with the ethos of the association, what it stands for and how it works to progress the industry. Now in these extraordinary times, tough decisions must be made, our ethos, our duties to our members and what we stand for in the future of Soft Tissue Therapy means we are very confident to make these tough decisions and stand by them.
Thank you once again for your support, we will get through this together
The ISRM Team

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