View From: ABDO
As June 21 approaches, we hope if all boxes are ticked the UK will open up again.
Before we hang out the bunting we need to consider the implications for those of us in practice – a sobering thought. There is no doubt the future looks bright with the successful roll out of the vaccine, and infection rates, hospital admissions and death rates all decreasing as I write this, but I feel we still need to err on the side of caution.
Over the past couple of months as my patients have been receiving their second jabs, some think it is acceptable to rock up to the practice without a mask on and without pre-arranged appointments. Social distancing, who needs social distancing? This has caused much frustration and angst among my staff who are following the Covid-19 guidelines and are left feeling vulnerable because of this behaviour.
I know ABDO and the College of Optometrists are monitoring the public guidance, which states that IPC and PPE procedures remain the same and are still directed in the delivery of health care – advertising this to our patients may not be a bad idea.
There will be no sudden magic moment after June 21. We have worked so hard for this past 18 months to reduce transmission and keep everyone safe and we need to maintain this.
What steps are you taking within practice to return to some form of normality?
My staff are reassured that we are continuing with PPE, keeping longer appointment times to allow us to clean, inviting patients in on an appointment only basis, keeping to the present social distancing rules and using regular lateral flow tests. This is what has kept us all safe and enabled us to continue to deliver vital eye care. It has become our normal.
I believe it will take a phased approach, with a hybrid way of working ensuring safety for all.