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5. What action should I take to protect myself and my team when clients attend the practice? (30/03/21)

In line with the four UK governments’ plans for easing restrictions, practices across the UK are able to open without restrictions and provide services to clients in accordance with their professional judgement. However, practices are to be mindful of the ongoing requirement to maintain biosecurity and social distancing.

The UK government still requires businesses to demonstrate robust strategies for managing the risk of transmission, so provisions such as social distancing / use of PPE etc, to ensure the safety of staff and clients will remain in force.

It will therefore be for individual practices / premises to decide, according to their individual circumstances, how they will operate in compliance with these requirements. For example:

  • Ask clients if they or a member of their household are currently self-isolating or have tested positive for the virus when booking appointments and before attending any home/farm visits or offsite consultations.
  • Reduce the number of people attending the premises to the absolute minimum and limit physical contact with clients wherever possible. This could be achieved by asking that only one person accompanies an animal when attending the practice, or by asking clients to wait in the waiting room, outside or even in their cars while you examine their animal. The consultation with the owner could then take place over the telephone.
  • Ensure employees and clients wear face masks when on premises, including the consultation room, waiting area and any communal areas.
  • You may keep a record of clients attending your practice so that you can inform them if there is a positive case of coronavirus amongst your staff or other persons entering your premises. Whilst veterinary practices are not required to collect information via the QR code scanning system for the NHS Track and Trace programme, practices may consider implementing this system as part of the public health effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. The QR code service is only available in England and Wales. It allows visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. More information regarding the QR code in England and Wales is available on the government website.
  • You may sign up to workplace coronavirus testing: Defra Secretary of State George Eustice MP has encouraged employers in England to sign up to the government’s workplace coronavirus testing programme. This is a voluntary initiative for employers to sign up and for employee participation. To qualify for free lateral flow tests, applications must be registered by 31 March 2021. Please view further information.

Please read the government’s guidance for employers and businesses in England (see guidance for WalesScotland and Northern Ireland).

Contact the Advice Team: advice@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0789

Last updated: 12 April 2021

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