As the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, provided a new update on Sunday evening, it seems that the COVID-19 situation in the UK is slowly improving, however, it is clear that we cannot yet ease the lockdown to avoid a second surge of coronavirus cases. Whilst we patiently wait for the freedom to re-open TCM clinics, we have been working with Chinese medicine associations in Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Spain to recommend potential COVID-19 guidelines for TCM clinics. We advise that TCM practitioners start planning hygiene and social distancing protocols for their clinics so that they are ready to reopen in a safe manner.
Please note that these recommendations have been put together based on current UK government COVID-19 guidelines. Whilst some of these instructions currently restrict the practice of contact therapies such as acupuncture, moxibustion, tuina and massage, we must continue to follow to social distancing rules as this is enforced by the government.
- All members of staff and patients should keep 2 metres apart at all times. Depending on the size of the clinic, we recommend staggering appointments to ensure social distancing measures are met.
- We recommend all rooms must be sterilised and cleaned after each treatment – this includes door handles, pens, cups etc. Treatment rooms should be left empty for 1 hour before the next appointment – this allows practitioners to see up to 4 patients a day.
- When the room is empty, we suggest keeping a window or door open to allow fresh air flow.
- Couch rolls should be replaced after each patient and treatment beds and chairs should be wiped down with anti-bacterial disinfectant.
- Newspapers, magazines and leaflets should be removed from the waiting area to avoid any cross-contamination.
- Practitioners should wear full PPE during an appointment. This includes a facemask, gloves and protective clothing. Once the patient leaves the clinic, the practitioner should remove the PPE, wash their hands thoroughly and use new PPE for each patient.
- Practitioners must supply patients with hand sanitiser/hand washing facilities and a face mask when they enter the clinic.
- Ideally, patients should not bring any of their personal belongings into a clinic with them. However, if that is not possible, we recommend asking patients to bring a plastic carrier bag with them to their appointment to keep their belongings in, such as coats/jackets, keys, handbag etc. This ensures no cross-contamination from either the patient or practitioner.
- Patients should either wash or sanitise their hands when entering and leaving the building. Practitioners should supply hand sanitiser and face masks for patients.
- Patients should inform practitioners if they are feeling unwell or showing symptoms before their appointment. If the practitioner feels uncomfortable treating the patient, they can cancel/rearrange the appointment.
Personal Protective Equipment
It is no secret that PPE supply is extremely limited in the UK. However, we are extremely fortunate to have great relationships with PPE manufacturers in China to ensure we have a steady supply of protective equipment. This allows us to not only donate a percentage to the NHS but also supply private healthcare sectors such as clinics, care homes and surgeries.
We have a supply of facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser available to buy in our online shop. The market price for all PPE has increased dramatically due to the current pandemic so our prices are currently higher than usual. However, we have made the decision to sell protective equipment at cost price, as we believe this is not a time to profit on these items but a time to provide healthcare individuals with the necessary goods.
Please note: if any PPE item is out of stock, we are currently taking backorders and we expect weekly air cargo deliveries of these items. To find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We understand that this is a stressful and uncertain time for many individuals, especially in private healthcare, but we believe that our industry needs us more than ever and we will continue to work together to find the best solution possible.
If you would like any more information regarding this blog post or have any ideas to add to these guidelines for TCM clinics, please contact email@example.com.
Please note: This blog post was originally posted on the 30th April 2020. We have now updated the information based on the latest update from the UK government.