Published on the 7th of January 2021.
Save Face has had direct confirmation from The Department of Health and Social Care that the new legislation, as it applies to our services, remains unchanged from November.
- Personal care services provided for medical and health treatment may continue. The guidance on safer working in Close Contact Services should be followed
- Where applicable, practitioners should also take into account any guidance issued by the healthcare regulators or a relevant professional body.
- The Government cannot provide comments on individual cases of whether or not a business is permitted to open. It is for each business to assess whether they are a business required to close having considered the Regulations and guidance on business closures
The public are being given the following guidance.
With reference to medical appointments, the guidance specifies;
- to seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- …‘visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health’.
- ’to get a COVID test, for medical appointments and for emergencies’.
It remains the position of Save Face that non-surgical cosmetic procedures are medical and that healthcare professionals registered with Save Face operate to a medical model of treatment and care and are able to risk assess and implement necessary and safe infection control measures.
Choosing to remain open is permitted within the law providing you can maintain a safe service in a safe environment. However, as healthcare professionals, we must also weigh up our wider responsibility towards public health and safety.
Save Face refers first and foremost to the legislation and guidance from the highest authorities. The legislation is clear, the guidance and wider public health responsibilities add in the shades of grey which must be considered in making your decision to remain open, or close. It is not our position to advise our members whether to open or close during this period. Our role is to review the legislation and guidance issued by the government and assess how that applies to our register, our membership, and the public.
Given the seriousness of the situation; the increased transmissibility of this new variant, the crisis status of the NHS, and our colleagues working on the front line, it must be recognised that whilst the legislation has not changed, the landscape is different.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise; the latest statistics record 62,322 daily cases and 1041 deaths in the last 24 hours with 17, 980 patients admitted to hospital with COVID (an increase of nearly 20%).
The new legislation across the nation requires everyone to stay at home except for limited essential activities.
You, your staff, your patients, and other clinics might have valid concerns that cosmetic procedures do not necessarily fall within the categories outlined by the government advice.
If you make the decision to close
- Consider services you can maintain without face-to-face contact
- Consider how you might remain accessible for exceptional cases where a thorough risk assessment can be undertaken and documented. Ensure patients with concerns are able to contact you.
- Examples of exceptional cases might include the management of a complication or treatment for an individual where the benefit to mental health outweighs the risk to you and the patient of contracting or spreading the virus.
- Where you are unable to provide any service, please consider arrangements for referral for those patients in urgent need.
If you choose to continue to offer essential services, you may wish to consider the following guidance:
- Public-facing communications should indicate a respect for the public health message to stay at home
- You should promote safety measures being taken and support public health messages (hands, space and face).
- You should not promote or incentivise treatments in any way
- You should provide details of limited provision and access to virtual appointments and services you can maintain without compromising the ‘Stay at home’ message.
- Clinicians should consider very carefully the increased vulnerability and lability of mental health during these extraordinarily stressful times and whether treatment will really make a positive difference to how an individual copes or whether the increased risk of dissatisfaction and anxiety around outcome outweighs any possible benefit. Where there are mental health concerns, as healthcare professionals we should signpost appropriate additional help and support resources.
- Where you have made the clinical decision to provide treatment to an individual, the new variant poses a greater risk of infection, therefore all measures must be taken to the highest possible standards to ensure risks are identified, discussed, documented, and are appropriately managed. Face to face services and patient/staff interactions should be very limited to ensure optimum social distancing is possible.
- Ensure your risk assessment is revisited and revised as necessary. The increased risk (transmissibility) posed by the new variant must be taken into consideration. Start with the assumption that every patient you see may have the virus and not know it.
- Consent forms and treatment information sheets should be reviewed and updated to include COVID-specific information/risks and address frequently asked questions.
We do appreciate how challenging this past year has been for everyone, and how difficult this constant uncertainty is for everyone on so many levels. We are here to support you, and promote public safety, do feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.
If you are in a devolved country, please refer to your local government guidelines as they may differ or be updated from time to time.