COVID-19 FAQ’s

Care

All of our practitioners adhere to the guidance the BAcC has produced to ensure they comply with the current government guidance relating to practice. A risk assessment  will be done by each practitioner to consider the measures needed to keep the clinic safe.

Before arrival

If you or someone you live with develops symptoms of COVID-19 by the time of the appointment, please contact the clinic before attending your appointment.

Handwashing

Please wash your hands immediately upon entering the clinic. You will be directed to the appropriate facilities. There will be a poster nearby to demonstrate handwashing techniques recommended by the NHS.

Please also wash your hands before leaving the clinic.

Face mask and respiratory hygiene

Please speak to your practitioner beforehand about mask wearing expectations and raise any concerns you have at this time. Your practitioner will determine their minimum requirements based on a through risk assessment.

 If you need to sneeze or cough while in the clinic, please do so into a disposable tissue and throw it away immediately. Please wash your hands immediately after doing so.

We are also encouraging cashless payment where possible.

Most clinics have introduced new procedures to minimise risk of transmission of COVID-19. A pre-appointment may be part of the procedure.

Your practitioner my ask you to complete this assessment by telephone or email before you can attend your appointment. So, please fill in and return any forms sent to you by your practitioner making sure you inform them if anything changes before the appointment. 

Please discuss yours and your practitioners` expectations regarding facemask wearing and any other expectations with your practitioner beforehand.

It is recommended that you do not attend with an empty stomach (ie not having eaten that day) but try not to eat immediately before treatment either. 

If you require a carer/parent/guardian to attend, please let the practitioner know beforehand as they may require COVID-19 screening and consent forms. 

If the treatment room is not big enough to social distance, there may be additional concerns for the practitioner .

Practitioners may choose to wear a mask in clinic, this will be based upon their own risk assessment and professional judgement. Please communicate any expectations you may have prior to attending for treatment.

All of our practitioners use single use, pre-packed sterile needles which will be incinerated after your treatment. As our practitioners wash their hands before handling these needles as well as before inserting and removing them, there is next to no risk of catching COVID-19 from a needle.  

You should wait a few days until any immediate ill effects wear off after having the vaccine before having any treatment.

This is not a hard and fast rule, and a practitioner may use their professional judgement to advise on this, as certain treatments are time dependent.  

An increasing number of studies show that acupuncture can have a direct impact on the immune system and in addition, that it has an anti-inflammatory action, particularly useful in cases of patients suffering from symptoms caused by COVID-19. These studies show that the levels of immune cells change in an immune enhancing, overreaction dampening fashion. 

In other words, the studies have shown clear evidence that acupuncture increases the body’s ability to fight infections, while at the same time calming the body’s occasional but detrimental tendency to overreact. 

The answer to this also varies by nation.

  • England, close contact services are no longer required to display a QR code poster.
  • Northern Ireland’s contact tracing scheme works very differently to the other nations. It is our current understanding that there is no QR code scheme in Northern Ireland.
  • Scotland, displaying a QR code  is optional for close contact services.
  • Wales, there is no mention of a requirement to display the QR code. Hence, by default it appears to be optional.  

The NHS (National Health Service) COVID Pass and how it can be used 

The NHS COVID Pass lets individuals share their coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination and test results in a secure way. 

The Government has made the NHS COVID Pass available as a means for individuals to demonstrate COVID status and for organisations to check it if organisations choose to use it. 

If businesses decide to require evidence of COVID-19 status as a condition of entry, they should ensure that they comply with all the relevant legal obligations (for example, the Equality Act 2010) and guidance that applies (for more information on the Equalities Act please see our mask wearing document here: Patient-mask-wearing-and-the-Equalities-Act-2010_.pdf 

There are some settings where the NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry, to ensure access for all. This includes essential services and essential retailers which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic.  

If you remained open during lockdown, it may be difficult to argue the case for refusing to treat someone who has not been vaccinated. 

If you use the NHS COVID Pass, you should ensure that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including not discriminating against those with protected characteristics such as:  

  • age;  
  • disability 
  • gender reassignment 
  • marriage and civil partnership 
  • pregnancy and maternity 
  • race 
  • religion or belief 
  • sex  
  • sexual orientation 

Even when using the NHS COVID Pass, it is still important that you follow other relevant guidance and put measures in place. 

Exemptions 

You may ask your patient if they can demonstrate their COVID-19 status using the NHS COVID Pass. This allows your patient to respond with information about a self-declared medical exemption. 

There will also be a small number of exemptions for individuals who have a medical reason, which means they cannot receive a vaccination or obtain a test. These individuals may self-declare their medical exemption directly with you. 

Although your patients may declare a medical exemption unprompted, you and your staff should not ask for evidence of the exemption. 

If your patient confirms that they have a self-declared exemption, but is unable to show any evidence, you should allow them access to your clinic unless the health and safety needs of you, a member of staff, other patients or clinic users override that.  

Children  

Individuals under 18 should not be required to demonstrate COVID status in settings where the NHS COVID Pass is used. 

What if the patient says they are not exempt but have chosen not to be vaccinated, can I refuse them entry? 

The general rule is that a practitioner/member does not need to take on or continue to treat any individual provided that the reason for doing so is not any form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. The nine protected characteristics are set out above. 

The types of discrimination are: 

  • direct 
  • associative 
  • perceptive 
  • indirect 
  • harassment 
  • third party harassment 
  • failing to make reasonable adjustments (disability only) 
  • disability related discrimination 
  • victimisation 

How can I check a patient’s COVID Pass? 

Please refer to the following for the instructions and for any further information. 

Using the NHS COVID Pass – NHSX  

The above information is Government guidance and not a recommendation from the BAcC. We urge practitioners to make their own professional judgements based on their own clinics and risk assessment.

This is no longer a requirement however the COVID-19 consent form supplied in the COVID-19 guidelines is a sample template which can be used for practitioners to screen patients. Practitioners may adjust it to better suit their requirements and the screening questions are meant as a guide to better inform the risk assessment and decision to treat. The information can be adjusted or removed depending on its relevance for the practitioner and their practice. It remains that COVID-19 is a workplace hazard, and screening should be done for every client on the initial consultation, as well as a reminder to the patient to inform the practitioner should anything change.

Yes, the patient may attend clinic. It is no longer the law to self isolate when in contact with a confirmed case. 

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Do you have a question that isn’t answered above? Email our dedicated COVID-19 information team at covid.info@acupuncture.org.uk