COVID-19 has had a dramatic affect on all our lives and not surprisingly at Nicky Snazell Clinic as well. Our foremost concern is the safety of patients and staff and we strive to stay fully up to date with the almost daily changes and wherever possible keep ahead of the curve. More on that later.
Even if you are an existing patient, but definitely if you are a new patient, we will take you through a screening process to make sure it is safe and justified for you to come in for treatment. There will be quite a few questions, and we ask you to bear with us on this as it’s all in our best interests. For sure, the questions asked will constantly change in line with latest guidelines. Where the risk is deemed higher, then a more detailed assessment will be needed with a physiotherapist, before treatment can be authorised.
Please note that in cases where you may need to be accompanied, then that person also has to pass screening to be allowed on site.
Changes At The Clinic
All of our 13,000 plus patients will know that our aim has always been to create a welcoming, peaceful and relaxing environment from the moment you walk in the door. Well that of course, to an extent, went out the door when we adjusted rapidly to the pandemic. Our waiting room has been effectively closed and patients are now asked to wait in their cars until their allotted start time. At that point they should come in alone with a face mask on, use the readily available hand sanitiser and their therapist, wearing full PPE, will take them to the treatment room.
At the end of the appointment the therapist will, if necessary, book a follow-on appointment and we then ask that you go to reception, where we have installed protective screens, to pay in advance for the next appointment. To speed this process, we now only take payment by card and by touch whenever possible. Where a payment requires a pin, the terminal is sanitised after use.
We then ask that you leave the clinic immediately as we want to minimise time that patients are in the clinic. Please don’t think we are being rude if we don’t chat as we used to. We are minimising your time on site. We have also staggered the start times between therapists, to avoid multiple patients being on site outside of a treatment room at the same time.
All rooms are sanitised between treatments and thus treatment times will be slightly shorter. In addition, we use a spray which lasts up to 5 hours on surfaces and this is used on all common touch points every 3 hours. Thus, for example, when you open the door to come in, you can be sure that the handle and surrounding woodwork will have been sprayed and is as safe as is practical.
We understand of course that some patients will need to use the toilet and we request that if needed, you first advise us so that we can sanitise after each use. Note, however, that the toilet is also thoroughly sanitised every 3 hours with our 5 hour effective spray. Please try to avoid the need to use our facilities wherever possible.
We require that you use a face mask which covers your mouth and nose at all times while inside the clinic. All of the available scientific information supports the need to wear masks inside a building. It is important for each of us to realise that wearing a mask helps protect those around us from us. By not wearing a mask properly, this would be putting our staff at additional risk and this is not acceptable.
Patients at times have found difficulty in wearing a mask, but we politely request that you must do so for the short time on site. Bear in mind that our staff are in full PPE all day to protect you.
Patients who do not comply with this request may be refused further treatment.
We also need your help in running to time. It is vital that you have vacated the treatment room on time, leaving sufficient time for the room to be sanitised. Any overrun will mean that patients will be held in the waiting room and this is not acceptable.
Payment In Advance
We have changed our payment procedure, as we now ask for payment in full at time of booking and in 99.9% of cases this has been fully understood and accepted. On one or two occasions, however, patients have misunderstood our reasoning for this. We have made this change by necessity, as many patients leave the building immediately after their treatment and it would be totally unworkable for us to have to continuously call patients to take payment. We had to come up with a single system for all, so this change is not a reflection on any one patient.
Staying Ahead Of The Curve
Part of our role is to stay up to speed with the ongoing changes caused by our government updates, but in addition, we, and in fact all of us, can choose to operate more safely if we wish. An example would be that last night Scotland announced that most COVID-19 infections were caused by meeting people from outside our household within our homes and thus banned this. In England a more relaxed position has been taken. It is, however, up to us to decide which position is more in our best interest. If we at the clinic feel it worthwhile to use more strict guidelines to help protect all, then we reserve the right to do so.
Having lived in the USA twice, I personally check in on their news channels and in particular I look for information from Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the USA’s leading disease expert, having been advisor to the last six Presidents. He talks more openly and simply than we tend to get in the UK. He is also completely apolitical and is only interested in scientific proof. There is also a wealth of real world, scientifically based information put out by Dr Sanjay Gupta.
Yesterday Dr Gupta interviewed Dr Fauci and for those who want a better insight and understanding of where we are right now, then I recommend you watch the interview on YouTube.
For those who don’t have time to watch this, here are some snippets:
- Dr Fauci is optimistic that a vaccine may be ready for approval by November or December, based on the limited results available in the small-scale phase one and two trials. But, and this is a big but, the all important large scale phase 3 trials are double blind, placebo controlled trials and so even he has no idea what the current results are. In fact, nobody does, except one or two statisticians who see unblinded results. In simple terms, a double blind trial means that only the statisticians know who is getting the placebo and who is getting the vaccine being tested, not even the manufacturers, as the trial is conducted by an independent group. This is the gold standard for scientific testing and is not something that can be politically manipulated.
- The best advice is that we must all wear face masks if social distancing can’t be maintained.
- What we didn’t know a few months ago was that 40% to 45% of COVID positive people were asymptomatic, nor were we aware that a substantial proportion of the infections were coming from those who were without symptoms. That makes it overwhelmingly important to wear a mask.
- There is a suggestion that some of the virus droplets in the air may be light enough to hang around and circulate, thus acting as an aerosol. The facts are we don’t know yet, but in many respects, it doesn’t matter. It just emphasises the advice given: wear a mask, keep your distance, avoid crowds, wash hands regularly, ventilate rooms.
- Yes, the elderly are more at risk, but people with underlying conditions, at any age, are at risk.
The overwhelming issue is that we all need to get on with our lives while we minimise our risk during this pandemic. We believe we are taking every possible step to minimise that risk and that we have created a far safer environment than most.
Take care, be safe, think of others