Patient and public information: COVID-19
BCA position on COVID-19
We know that patients and the public want to know more about how chiropractors are responding to patient need at during COVID-19.
BCA updates advice to members on face-to-face consultations
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) represents the majority of chiropractors in the UK and has at its core the values which have been its ethos for 95 years. These include the placing of patient care and safety above all other considerations. Our chiropractors also have a duty of care to their staff and associates and to the wider community, most particularly in this period of national crisis.
Currently, we have decided to advise our members as follows:
- In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, they may resume face-to-face consultations including routine and maintenance care.
- In Scotland they may resume face-to-face consultations for patients who need urgent care.
Any decision to offer face-to-face care will be taken in consultation with the patient and subject to a risk assessment.
BCA chiropractors have a wide range of information and advice at their disposal, including detailed risk assessments and specific instructions on the use of PPE and this will enable their patients to have a treatment experience in which they should feel comfortable and safe, should they require urgent treatment. We advise all patients to have a detailed discussion with their chiropractors on the safety arrangements in the clinic before they arrive, follow their chiropractors’ advice on processes and procedures in the clinic carefully and to feed back their assessment of their experience after the consultation, so that it can be improved if necessary.
At the BCA, we continue to be focused on the safety of our members, their patients and families during this pandemic and have only made this slight adjustment to our policy on the basis that it is the least significant change than can be made, whilst moving the country towards less stringent conditions of Lockdown. We will continue to monitor Government advice and update our information to the public accordingly.
FAQs for patients and public
BCA advice to our members across the UK is shown above. This is largely echoed by the regulator, the General Chiropractic Council’s latest statement to registrants that was released on 3rd June.
Under Statutory Instrument 350 chiropractors have been allowed to remain open throughout the lockdown period and people may travel to and from a chiropractor. BCA advice is therefore more prescriptive and restrictive than the Government’s instructions.
BCA members are advised to undertake a thorough risk assessment and to have completed the following before considering face-to-face consultations:
Have I read and understood the following documents?
- The UK Government’s Recovery Strategy
- The UK Government’s Working Safely during Coronavirus
- NHS/PHE Guidance on Social Distancing
- NHS PPE Guidelines
Health and Safety
Have I reviewed the Health & Safety regulations regarding maintaining a safe workplace for staff and visitors?
Have I reviewed the GCC Code to ensure that I understand my duties regarding patient safety?
- Do I have a sustainable, ethical source of PPE to maintain the scale of consultations which I envisage?
- Have I carried out adequate training on PPE with my staff?
- Do I understand the new Government advice on the use of face coverings?
Have I carried out a Risk Assessment using the BCA’s Risk Assessment Framework and Template making adjustments to my own clinical setting?
Have I drafted detailed instructions and briefed my staff on Return to Work Protocols as I intend to implement them within my practice?
- Do I understand the new Government advice on dealing with Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people and Clinically Vulnerable people?
- Do I have a comprehensive plan for communicating with my patients regarding risks and procedures within the clinic?
This comparison table from the Office for National Statistics helps you understand which professions are at greatest risk and may help you decide who to visit.
In the UK, Chiropractors are regulated by law and are required to adhere to a strict Code of Practice, in the same way as dentists. The General Chiropractic Council (GCC), has regulated chiropractors since 1997 and continues to do so.
The GCC has released information for patients during COVID-19 to help give confidence during this time.
The BCA has released a statement regarding false claims of the effect of chiropractic treatment on COVID-19, alongside all of the chiropractic professional associations in the UK and the Royal College of Chiropractors.
Yes! We have received lots of enquiries from those looking to start their studies in chiropractic despite COVID-19. The BCA has been working witth the four UK chiropractic education providers to support the continuation of these degree courses. Many universities have made online provision and you should contact the universities directly to find out more about how to apply and what studying might look like in 2020.
AECC University College
Welsh Institute of Chiropractic
The University of South Wales
Tel: 0800 716 925 FREE
web incl contact: www.southwales.ac.uk/chiro
London South Bank University
103 Borough Road
Tel: 0800 923 8888
McTimoney College of Chiropractic
1 Kimber Road
Tel: 01235 523 336
web incl contact: http://www.mctimoney-college.ac.uk
Tel: 01642 218121
web incl contact: https://www.tees.ac.uk/undergraduate_courses/Nursing_Midwifery_&_Health_Professions/MSci_(Hons)_Chiropractic.cfm
It has also been announced that a new course will open at the University of Central Lancashire https://chiropractic-uk.co.uk/new-chiropractic-programme-development/
The decision on which PPE to wear includes elements of clinical judgement. Many chiropractors are wearing masks, gloves, aprons and some will also wear visors; so do not be surprised if your chiropractor is wearing PPE.
The Government has advised that: “If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet”, (read more here). Your chiropractor may supply you with a face covering or mask, or you may bring your own. You should discuss the arrangements for your appointment with them.
Some chiropractors have had to adjust their costs to take in to account the changes in the way they practise due to COVID-19. Increased cleaning, the need to wear PPE and additional staff may all be reasons why this has changed. If you would like more information, please speak with your chiropractor who will be happy to explain it to you.
Due to the necessary cleaning and hygiene requirements that chiropractors now follow, it may be the case that your chiropractor is unable to offer the same number of treatment slots as previously but is experiencing similar or increased demand.
Yes, you can, subject to risk assessment by your chiropractor. Chiropractors perform risk assessments before treating patients, to make the necessary considerations should a shielding patient approach them regarding an appointment. Please ensure you explain your circumstances to your practitioner at that time.
Shielding advice is changing across the UK countries and patients are advised to check the status of this prior to planning an appointment.
In the UK countries where individuals are permitted inside other people’s homes to work, chiropractors who wish to, can do consultations in your home. Any visit to a home-setting requires a thorough risk assessment which may take into account other people who live in there and additional risk factors.
The use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is still necessary in a home-setting.
The Government has produced advice on home visits, however, this envisages that the specified social distance is followed for visitors in the home. Chiropractic treatment takes place in close contact. If you are clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable (shielding), extra care should be taken and a discussion with your chiropractor is recommended.
If you are attending a chiropractic consultation during COVID-19 there are some things you can do to prepare. The BCA has developed this infographic with our colleagues at BASRaT, Physio First, the Institute of Osteopathy, the College of Podiatry and the Society of Sports Therapists.
With thanks to ARMA for providing the network for these organisations to work together in the interests of patients.