Dr Frank Atherton the Chief Medical Officer/Medical Director NHS Wales, has issued a letter for the attention of providers of close contact services regarding maintaining a Covid secure environment in the close contact service to protect staff and clients.
“We can all take comfort in the huge gains we have made over the past few months in reducing the number of infections in our communities and in the vaccination of the most vulnerable. This success has allowed me to agree the phased return of economy and of services that are so important to many people.
I know that close contact services have embraced the guidance developed to ensure that they are Covid secure and engaged with their local enforcement officers. I also know from reports from local authorities that these officers have been out and about in the last few weeks to support you in doing the right thing for you, your staff and your clients. Almost without exception compliance with the guidance has been excellent, although there have been a few worrying incidents of clusters of cases associated with hairdressers and barbers and reports that personal protective equipment (PPE) fatigue has become an issue in some businesses.
Despite the gains that we have made, the guidance on Covid security in your sector has not changed and we must continue to ensure that any opportunity for transmission of the virus is minimal. I would like to remind you that PPE (this includes a Type II face mask and a face visor) is essential protection and a legal requirement for all practitioners who provide a close contact service. For these practitioners there is no medical exemption from the PPE requirement. It goes without saying that the services you provide will at times compromise the 2 metre rule. To help mitigate the risks your clients must also wear a face covering at all times during their visit.
The majority of businesses have worked closely with local authority enforcement officers to ensure that they can deliver a much needed service as safely as possible. I know how grateful you are for their support and understand that local authority enforcement officers have a legal duty to inspect and advise businesses on the requirements of the Coronavirus regulations. It is important that this is recognised and they are treated with respect, by both yourselves and your clients. To provide support we have produced action cards Non Essential Close Contact Services / Close Contact Therapy Practices which highlight the expected response of all partners in keeping everyone safe, in line with the national guidance.
I have confidence that through your continued compliance with the regulations, and with support from your clients, you will continue to offer a safe service appreciated by all.
DR FRANK ATHERTON”
Source: Business Wales