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 advice on face-to-face consultations
5th January 2021
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.
Latest COVID-19 restrictions across the UK (4th January 2021)
We have reviewed the regulations announced this evening and chiropractic services can remain open in all four UK countries.
In addition to the fact that it is legally permissible, it is important that chiropractors can continue to offer their services to their patients for several reasons. These include:
- Patient care, particularly when a patient is in pain and needs to seek a consultation.
- Offering a chiropractic service to key/essential workers, including those in the NHS.
- Reducing the musculoskeletal care burden on the NHS, particularly if patients are finding it hard to access these services due to the pandemic.
We have advised our members to:
- Act with caution – the latest lockdown restrictions are part of a national effort to reduce COVID-19 infections significantly and chiropractors and their patients must play their part.
- Update their risk assessments (including on the use of PPE) in light of the most recent Government announcements.
- Ensure that their clinics are as safe as they can be.
- Ensure that home visits (if they choose to carry these out) are subject to the most stringent risk assessments.
- Consider the use of telehealth/virtual consultations as a first step to decide whether a patient needs to be seen face-to-face.
- Consider the use of telehealth as an alternative to face-to-face consultations.
- Consider seeing those who present with urgent symptoms only.
- Consider the need to minimise travel, particularly across national UK borders.
It is for the chiropractor to make these professional/clinical judgements in consultation with their patient.
Patients should also be aware that:
- Gyms (where they are a part of the clinic facility) can only be used if the patient is under active supervision for a treatment need.
- Other therapists in a clinic should have checked with their own professional bodies for advice on the conditions under which they should continue to practise.
- We have reiterated to our members the importance of referencing local restrictions when decision-making, including keeping up to date with advice from the local Director of Public Health.
You can find the latest government advice here:
FAQs for patients and public
BCA advice to our members across the UK is shown above. This is echoed by the regulator – the General Chiropractic Council’s latest statement to registrants can be found here
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 has generally been 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, similar to the regulations followed, for example, by dentists. The General Chiropractic Council (GCC), has regulated chiropractors since 1997.
The GCC website has information for the public regarding COVID-19 which is updated when changes take place.
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
We have put together some helpful information for students, prospective students and recent graduates regarding studying during COVID-19
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.