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clock iconPosted Saturday, 27 February 2021

COVID-19 Restrictions: Guidance for Natural Therapists in the United Kingdom

By Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place for the United Kingdom. Below are helpful links on the restrictions and guidance for our members. We will update this blog regularly on how to move forward in response to COVID-19. You can also stay up to date by visiting www.gov.uk.

Please note the information contained on this page is general in nature and does not contain professional IICT advice or recommendations, nor does it take into account your personal situation.

The guidelines outlined on this page apply to England. Please click the links below to view the guidance for the other countries in the UK:

If you are affected by coronavirus and would like to find out what support you can get from the government and other organisations, click here. For financial support information, please click on the links below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is also available to businesses, self-employed people and sole traders. Find out what financial support schemes you may be eligible for by clicking here 

The CNHC have put together some information about the UK Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the Northern Ireland Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS), the UK Government's extension of the Furlough Scheme, and Self-Isolation Support Payments. Find out more by clicking here.

 

14th January 2021

Businesses subject to restrictions

Personal Care facilities and close contact services must close. This includes:

  • homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, traditional chinese medicine, and ayurveda
  • hair, beauty and nail salons
  • tattoo parlours
  • spas, saunas, steam rooms
  • massage centres
  • body and skin piercing services
  • tanning salons
These venues may continue to sell retail goods (such as shampoo or beauty products) online or via click-and-collect.

Those who provide personal care services from a mobile setting including their own home, in other people’s homes and in retail environments (such as a concession in a larger, separate business) must also stop operating.

Personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs, which cannot be deferred, may continue. For example, treatments for a diagnosed health condition or injury that is currently causing severe pain or mobility issues, or severely impacting quality of life, or for cosmetic treatments associated with cancer treatment. This does not extend to services provided for general stress relief, relaxation or preventative healthcare purposes. The guidance on safer working in the Close Contact Services should be followed.

Compliance and enforcement

It is for each business to assess whether they are a business required to close having considered the guidance and regulations.

An owner, proprietor or manager carrying out a business (or a person responsible for other premises) who fails to fulfill the obligations placed on them in law, without reasonable excuse, commits an offence.

In England, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate.

Businesses and venues that breach restrictions will potentially be subject to a:

  • Fixed Penalty Notice (fine) starting at £1,000 for the first offence and rising to £10,000 upon repeat offences
  • Coronavirus Improvement Notice (which will require a minimum of 48 hours for a business to introduce necessary measures)
  • Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice (which will impose the immediate closure or restriction of an activity within premises for a 48 hour period where rapid action is needed)
  • Coronavirus Restriction Notice and Prohibition Notice (which will require the closure or restriction of an activity for a 7 day period)
It is also an offence, without reasonable excuse to fail to comply with a notice, this may result in a fine, or where necessary court proceedings, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

Please click this link to read the full Guidance to closing certain businesses and venues in England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england

 

5th January 2021

National lockdown rules apply in England. Stay at home.

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across England. The government has provided a guidance on their website on the  national lockdown requirements. Please read the current rules and conditions here.

Rules about closing certain businesses in England are in place. Please read the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England here.

CNHC Update:

Businesses that can remain open include “dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.” Under the legal advice CNHC obtained during the November 2020 national lockdown in England, CNHC Registrants in England meet the definition of “other…health services, including services relating to mental health” contained in Section 17(o), Schedule 3A of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. The amended legislation on which Parliament voted today made no changes that section of the Regulations.

This means, as a CNHC Registrant, you can continue to practise in England during the current restrictions if you meet the criteria set out below.

In order to stay within the remit of providing “other…health services, including services relating to mental health”:

  • You must only provide the therapies you are registered for, on a one-to-one basis to clients, for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing them pain or having an adverse impact on their mobility or their quality of life.
  • You must engage in Evidence Based practice and In compliance with Section D1 of the CNHC Code of Conduct, Ethics and Performance “you must recognise and work within the limits of your own knowledge, skills and competence”. (updated: 11 January and 18 January 2021)
  • You must be able to evidence that your therapeutic intervention is supporting your client with their condition. You can do this by recording their health condition and giving a clear rationale in your client’s care record for the treatment that you are providing,
  • You cannot provide treatment to a client in their own home unless you have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional.
  • If your practice is based in your own home you can continue to work from there as long as it is COVID-secure. You can find our advice on following government guidance on working safely here.

N.B. On the CNHC Register it is only hypnotherapists who are trained to support mental health conditions. (updated 18 January 2018)

The CNHC has urged registrants to exercise the utmost caution and exercise your professional judgement in assessing the risks. You must carry out and record a risk assessment on whether the benefits of seeing a client in person outweighs the risks. Practise remotely where you can and follow the CNHC's advice on following government guidance on working safely which you can find here.

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is continually updating their website on COVID advice for registered health practitioners in the UK. Visit their website for more information at www.cnhc.org.uk.

 

22nd December 2020

CNHC Update: Advice on working in Tier 4

CNHC Registrants in England can continue to practise during Tier 4 restrictions if you meet the criteria set out below.

  • You must only provide the therapies you are registered for, on a one-to-one basis to clients, for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing them pain or having an adverse impact on their mobility or their quality of life.
  • You must be able to evidence that your therapeutic intervention is supporting your client with their condition. You can do this by recording their health condition and giving a clear rationale in your client’s care record for the treatment that you are providing.
  • You cannot provide treatment to a client in their own home unless you have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional.
  • If your practice is based in your own home you can continue to work from there as long as it is COVID-secure. You can find our advice on following government guidance on working safely here.
  • You must exercise the utmost caution and exercise your professional judgement in assessing the risks. The new variant of COVID-19 is highly transmissible. You must carry out a risk assessment on whether the benefits of seeing a client in person outweighs the risks. Practise remotely where you can and follow our advice on following government guidance on working safely which you can find here.

If you are contacted by your local authority and asked why you are open during tier 4 restrictions, you need to show or forward the email CNHC have sent to all their Registrants in England.

If you are in tier 4 you can continue to work remotely with clients who do not have identifiable health needs (as defined about) but you cannot see them in person.

If you are in tiers 1 to 3 you can continue to see clients face to face and also provide close contact services (i.e. 'hands-on therapies where social distancing is not possible). The full list of local restriction tiers by area can be found here.

 

20th December 2020

Parts of England are in Tier 4: Stay at Home

In areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, tighter restrictions are now in place.

If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules - click here to view the Tier 4 guidance. This means that you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas for Tier 4 – you cannot form a Christmas bubble in Tier 4.

Find out what tier your area is in by visiting www.gov.uk, where you can enter the postcode where you’re living or spend most of your time to find out what the rules are.

Businesses and venues which must close

Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.

Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) Update:

CNHC are waiting for the regulations that give legal effect to tier 4 guidance to be published, to see whether complementary therapists on accredited registers can be considered to be exempt from the requirement to stop working. In the meantime all CNHC Registrants, unless they are working remotely, must cease practising. An update as soon as the legal regulations are published will be posted on this blog.

 

2nd December 2020

Local Restriction Tiers

A return to a tier system is now in place from the 2nd of December, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of England. Although less restrictive than the national lockdown the new three tier system will be stricter than the previous one in order to prevent a return to growing infections. 

There are 3 tiers for local restrictions:

Tier 1: Medium alert
Tier 2: High alert
Tier 3: Very High alert

For guidance on the local restrictions tiers in England and information what you need to know, please click here.

In all three tiers “personal care”, the category in which complementary healthcare is deemed to fall under, can remain open. This includes mobile working. All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. 

See specific guidance here for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

5th November 2020

New National Restrictions

Following the rapid increase in COVID-19 case numbers across the UK new national restrictions are now in place (replacing the Local Covid Alert Level measures) to help reduce the growth and spread of the infection. From Thursday, 5th November to Wednesday, 2nd December, people must:

At the end of that period, a return to a regional approach will replace these current restrictions, based on the latest data. These measures will be underpinned by law. Police and other authorities will have powers to give fines and break up gatherings. For detailed information on the New National Restrictions guideline, click here.

Businesses Which Must Close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close including:

  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Spas, massage parlours, non-medical acupuncture must also close and it is also prohibited to provide these services in other peoples’ homes. Guidelines for people who provide close contact services can be viewed by clicking here.
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, fitness and dance studios. Information for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities can be viewed by clicking here. 

For more information on businesses required to close, permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities and other businesses and venues permitted to stay open, click here.

Restriction guidelines for complementary healthcare practitioners registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) in the UK.

CNHC register complementary health practitioners from the following professions:
Alexander Technique teaching; Aromatherapy; Bowen Therapy; Colon Hydrotherapy; Craniosacral Therapy; Healing; Hypnotherapy; Massage Therapy; Microsystems Acupuncture; Naturopathy; Nutritional Therapy; Reflexology; Reiki; Shiatsu; Sports Therapy; Yoga Therapy.

Below is an update from the CNHC regarding the latest government announcements on returning to work/working during the coronavirus pandemic.

CNHC sought legal advice on whether the complementary healthcare practitioners they register are included in the businesses permitted to remain open during the national restrictions in England introduced by the Government on 5 November.

The advice they received stated that CNHC Registrants in England meet the definition of “other…health services, including services relating to mental health” contained in Section 47, Part 3 of the Schedule to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020.

This legal advice has taken into account that in Sections 25D and 25E of the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 (as inserted by the Health and Social Care Act 2012) practitioners on Accredited Registers are defined as engaged in work that includes the provision of healthcare.

What this means for CNHC Registrants

1. You must only provide therapies to clients who have identified health needs

CNHC Registrants can continue to provide the therapies they are registered for, on a one-to-one basis, for an identified mental or physical health condition or injury that is causing the client pain or having an adverse impact on their mobility or their quality of life. This is for you to establish using your professional judgement and expertise in the discipline you practise, based on information you should elicit from your client/potential client before agreeing to see them. You may decide to undertake further research, confer with colleagues at your practice or seek the advice of your professional association (while maintaining client confidentiality) before confirming a health need.

2. You need to be able to evidence a health need

Unless you have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional, you must be able to evidence that your therapeutic intervention is supporting your client with their condition. You can do this by noting in your client records:
  • The symptoms your client has.
  • The adverse impact those symptoms are having on their daily life.
  • Their medical history, including any pre-existing conditions or diagnosis they have received from their GP, hospital consultant, or other regulated health professional.
  • A clear rationale for the care that you are providing.

You should already be keeping detailed, up to date and attributable client records

3. Mobile working is restricted

You cannot provide treatment to a client in their own home unless you have received a direct referral from a statutory regulated health professional. If you have received a referral, you may see a client in their own home so long as you:

  • Check that your insurance will cover this.
  • Think about how you will manage social distancing and hygiene in an environment that is not your own and communicate with the client in advance about how to manage this.
  • Consider who else lives with the client and whether they are in a high or moderate risk group.
  • Check before you enter the client’s home if they, or anyone who lives with them or is in their support bubble, have had any coronavirus symptoms or if they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate. If the answer is yes, then do not enter the home or provide the therapy.

4. If your practice is based in your home

You can continue to work as long as it is COVID-secure and is covered by your insurance. You must:

  • Only provide treatments in a room which is not used by other members of your household.
  • Sanitise the treatment room and any other parts of your home that clients have to pass through to reach the room between each appointment. Not doing this could place both your clients and members of your household at risk.
  • Check all members of your household daily for any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Follow our CNHC's advice on working safely to make sure your practice is COVID-secure. 

CNHC also provides information for registered complementary Health Practitioners in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales click here to view the guidance for the relevant country and refer to the section in red for the latest updates.

 

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

About the Author:

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard is the CEO and Founder of the IICT with over 25 years experience in the natural health industry. Lawrence has been instrumental in developing the IICT's operations both within the Australia and Internationally.

https://www.lawrenceellyard.com/

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