The Government has produced specific COVID-19 guidance for healthcare professionals which you should be aware of to support any local employer guidance and there is also general guidance for the public. The Departments of Health and Social Care, and other agencies including Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland are regularly updating their guidance for health and care professionals and information for the public. Please remember to check regularly for any new statements issued, as well as being aware of updated guidance from your employer.
The Government have recently published their Coronavirus action plan on 3rd March 2020 which sets out what the UK as a whole has done and plans to do to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There has also be guidance produced pertinent to the 4 nations on COVID-19: Information Commissioners Office (ICO) have guidance on data protection and coronavirus for public bodies and healthcare professionals.
The RCCP will continue to work closely with the all of our stakeholders including professional bodies, the NHS, Chief Scientific Officers, the Department for Health and Social Care and other statutory and non-statutory regulators to help meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic together. These are unprecedented times and the RCCP is committed to playing its part in helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
We understand that you may be feeling anxious about COVID-10 and the potential impact that it may have on your role as a clinical physiologist. With this in mind we are starting to compile a list of FAQs which we encourage you to read:
What should I do if I become unwell with a high temperature and/or a new and continuous cough?
Registrants must follow the latest advice issued by the Government about when self-isolation may be required. If you suspect that you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek advice from NHS 111.
You should also speak to your employer, to see if there are any local policies in place you need to follow.
Whether you are a member of the public or an RCCP registrant, you must follow the guidance if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 which are:
- Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
Can I refuse to provide care for someone who may be infected if I feel I may be at risk?
We understand that clinical physiologists are experienced in managing challenging health issues, including patients that may be infected. You must however make sure that you continue to meet the RCCP Standards which still apply even in such extraordinary circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, standard 1 of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (SCPE) remind you that you must promote and protect the interests of service users and carers and so ensure that you recognise the patient’s needs, assess and respond without undue delay.
We do recognise that all healthcare professionals should feel supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing and your employer is there to help manage resources and in particular deal with risk so that that the quality of care or service you provide for people can be maintained despite such unparalleled times such as COVID-19.
You should share any concerns with your manager without delay if you have any anxieties that you believe puts you, or those you are caring for, at increased risk in your workplace so they can make sure you’re able to practise safely.
I’m worried that my RCCP registration is at risk where I am being asked to act outside my normal job?
The COVID-19 pandemic impact on healthcare professionals is resulting in some highly challenging circumstances where you may need to depart from normal established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services. Our Standards of Proficiency are designed to be flexible but you should use your professional judgment, work within the limits of your competence whilst working with your line manager and colleagues across multi-disciplinary teams to assess any risk in order to provide safe and effective care.
We expect registrants to work within the limits of their skills, knowledge and experience whilst acting in the best interests of patients at all times. Therefore, if your employer asks you to move into a new area or role, we would expect you to receive training and / or support to ensure you are still able to practise safely and effectively within the limits of your knowledge and competence.
I am awaiting a decision on my RCCP application - are the timescales impacted due to COVID-19?
We are continuing to process applications as normal and will strive to achieve our normal processing times as far as is reasonably possible.
I am concerned that I may not be able to keep up to date with CPD or have time to submit my profile if requested?
The RCCP have made the decision, during these unprecedented times and following the emerging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare professionals, to cancel all CPD resubmission requests until further notice. Individuals should comply with their CPD obligation, where time allows and it is possible to do so. However we recognise that many of our Registrants may be under immense professional and personal pressure exacerbated also by staff shortages and so as a show of support, we are withdrawing the notification to resubmit your CPD for the 2017-2019 audit period.
Will the renewals process be impacted by COVID-19?
We will continue with our planned renewal timelines, but with extra flexibility understanding the pressures our registrants will be under.
I am currently the subject of a complaint. How will this affect the investigation timescales?
Fitness to practice (FtP) investigation work and ensuring patient safety remains the key objective of the RCCP. However, there may be a delay in scheduling any planned face-to-hearings and where possible progress cases via ‘hearings on papers’ or holding ‘virtual hearings’. There may however be minor delays to processing due to staffing pressures as a result of government advice. We will however continue to log all complaints, risk assess any new referrals and any new information on existing referrals; interim order applications and review hearings.
I am a student and my university is moving to remote working or may even close?
Students will need to speak to their education and training provider to understand what measures they are putting in place and what impact that may have on their studies.
I am a student and I am concerned that my clinical placements may be impacted by COVID-19?
We expect students to follow local guidance and policies put in place by their university / education provider and placement provider. If you have any concerns, you should speak to your supervisor, HEI tutor or course leader.
I am a third year student and want to work during COVID-19 to help my fully trained and RCCP registered colleagues cope with the increased pressure?
We are in the process of working this through with professional bodies and education providers and this information will be shared with eligible students as soon as a decision is made. If you have RCCP Student registration, please keep an eye out on your emails.
If you have any further concerns, you should speak to your employer and relevant professional body (if a member). You can also seek advice from RCCP by emailing email@example.com and your email we passed onto the relevant expert.