Currently COVID19 has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation with cases still being confirmed at an increasing rate. We know that the NHS and primary and secondary care across all of our four nations will be facing extreme pressure which may be exacerbated by staff becoming unwell themselves. We also recognise that many of you provide care for your own families and that could increase anxiety for you, particularly as those family members may be elderly or have underlying medical conditions. It is not an understatement to say that this is one of the most significant public health crises that this country has ever seen. We know that you will respond to these challenges with great professionalism and dedication but we also understand that many of you will be anxious about the potential for temporary changes to clinical practice and how our regulators, the HCPC, will react to that.
It is likely that the spread of transmission will require you, as healthcare professionals, to be pragmatic but flexible about your normal working practices. Whilst we recognise most of you work in unique environments regularly it is possible that you will be asked to work in different and unfamiliar settings, but we would anticipate that this would be based on need and in order to support patients in the most appropriate way. We understand that while you may be concerned by this, we give our reassurance that the College of Paramedics is in consultation with employers and other agencies involved in clinical practice and strategic planning. Whilst our professional standards remain the guiding principle, the HCPC has issued a joint statement with other regulatory bodies to make registrants aware that these challenging times will require a different approach to the application of those standards. Click here for this information.
We know that you will continue to use professional judgement in line with your education, training and experience and support your more junior colleagues wherever you are able. As members, you may face situations you have never faced before within the context of COVID19, particularly as the peak of this pandemic becomes evident. It is forecast that this is likely to endure over several months which will not only have a continued impact on your workload but will also test your personal resolve. It is equally important to us that you look after yourselves and your colleagues’ wellbeing during this time and use any support mechanisms that are made available to you.
We have also considered our student membership and are liaising with the higher education institutes to explore a sensible solution for clinical placements during this time. We want to ensure that students are not exposed to high-risk areas unnecessarily during their placements and that their educational commitments can still be honoured. We understand from universities that they are following medical advice issued by the Government and therefore have been balanced in light of current evidence. All universities are providing regular updates, bulletins and online links so that students are fully informed.
Finally, may we say a heartfelt thank you for everything you are doing to support the health system and the public, wherever you are working. The response and commitment you have shown is extraordinary and the profession has shown itself to be adaptable, dynamic and dedicated. As a professional body, we can only express our pride at your response, and we will continue to represent and support you in any way we can during this extremely challenging time.
Members should follow the advice laid out by Public Health England:
And keep updated with the latest guidance as it can quickly change.