We are planning on “reopening” the practice on Monday 18th May. This doesn’t mean we can just open the doors to everybody but it has given us the ability to see more than just emergency cases but there are still restrictions to routine treatment. There will also be a number of changes to the way in which the practice operates. Some will be obvious and some less so. Therefore, we thought it best to outline what these the changes will be.
The first and most obvious change will be an increase in the amount of personnel protective equipment (PPE) that we will be required to wear. This is to protect ourselves and our patients. We are have always worn disposal gloves and Kate as worn a disposal apron (as this has always been a personnel choice for each practitioner) as well a mask when drilling. We are now required to wear all three of the above PPE when we treat all patients with the gloves and apron changed for each patient. The Mask can be sessional i.e. we won’t be change between each patient. For some patients we may also wear either googles or a face visor this will be decided on a patient by patient basis. We also require all patients (and carers) to wear a mask when you attend your appointment. If you are unable to bring your own, we have a limited supply, to provided one for you at a cost of £1.
Prior to an appointment being made for you will conduct a triage assessment in order to determine the way in which you are treated, using a three risk-criteria or traffic light systems; Red, Amber and Green, as laid out by our governing body The College of Podiatry, following consultation with the government. This system is designed to ensure that we are seeing those most risk (red) but unfortunately those out the least risk (green), are unlikely to be seen at this time.
When you attend your appointment, we kindly ask all patients to avoid arriving too early for your appointment and where possible to wait outside till the time of your appointment. This is to reduce the chance of patient crossover with the confined space of the reception/waiting area. If you are coming with another (partner/family member/friend or carer) we would ask that where possible only one of you enter the practice for your appointment. Again, this is to limit the potential for crossover of patients within the reception area. Carers will be allowed to stay be able to remain at the discretion of the podiatrist, we will discuss this with you at the time of booking. Prior to entering the practice we will conduct a temperature check via contactless thermometer. We will be still be asking all patients to wash their hands upon entering the practice and to pay by card where possible, like we were before the lock down.
Finally, the biggest change and the one that is going to have the largest impact on the everyday running of the practice. We have had to extended each appointment by a minimum of 15 minutes. This allows use to have a gap between patients to not only avoid cross over of patients as previously mentioned but more importantly allow for the treatment rooms and reception to be cleaned effectively.
Unfortunately, this is something that is unavoidable. This alongside the increased cost of PPE, in some cases as much as a five to six fold increase means we will have to increase cost of all appointments. This is something that we would normally do once year and is early than we were intending to do, as well as being a slightly larger increase than we would normally do.