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Thursday, 20 May 2021 05:49

Emerging from The Pandemic Featured

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Emerging from The Pandemic

Finally, the end seems to be in sight as restrictions on our freedoms imposed as a result of this virus can gradually be lifted. Hotels, pubs and bars are opening and people are being permitted to have gradually increasing levels of social contact. Notwithstanding this, we are still being urged to sensible with regard to "Face, Space and Fresh Air" to limit any virus transmission.

Taking these things into consideration, we have had numerous discussions about how we should relax restrictions at our two surgeries, allowing clients into the building. After much deliberation we can summarise this as follows, under those familiar headings.

Face

As in normal life, we will probably continue to wear face masks for some time, preventing spread of virus to friends, colleagues and clients. At the time of writing, the individual who has the disease but who shows no symptoms, the "asymptomatic carrier state", exists in about 1 in 19 people. As we often see more than twice that number of people in a day it's likely that we will meet at least 2 or 3 such carriers during the course of a working day. That being so, we will continue to require masks to be worn.

Space

Our waiting rooms at Stantonbury and Oxley are quite roomy, although we would probably need to restrict entry in order to maintain social distancing. In addition, Stantonbury has an "airlock" entrance for added pet security. This presents not only a bottleneck where clients may come into close contact, but also numerous contact points that would need to be continually cleaned. One solution might be to have someone permanently on the entrance to shepherd clients in and out of the building - but we unfortunately don't have spare staff to do this.

In any case, consulting rooms would present an insurmountable problem, in that, like many practices, they are only around 2.5-3m square. Close contact between members of staff of less than 1m is common when carrying out most procedures and maintaining control of pets. This close contact presents too high a risk between staff and clients, necessitating at least 2 members of staff in a consulting room, and with a third person present, social distancing would be impossible.

Thus even if we allowed clients into the building, you would still be unable to be present in the consulting rooms.

Fresh Air

This is the real clincher when it comes to access to the practice. In the 36 year history of this practice I can recall only one escapee, from the old Stantonbury Local Centre surgery, early on in that history. If I remember rightly it was a white poodle that lived on Stantonbury, and following it's successful efforts to evade staff and ultimately exit from the building it trotted off home. No harm done. We were very lucky! We have not had an escapee since, for over 30 years, and never from either of our current premises.

Animal security is therefore in our DNA and is second nature. Open windows and/or doors with free flow of fresh air is just asking for the additional free flow of patients to the great outdoors. Despite asking for dogs to be restrained on leads, and cats to be in carriers, there will always be a small minority of dogs with loose fitting collars or indeed harnesses that will be practised in extricating themselves from such restraint at will, and a small minority of cat owners that consider a blanket or that old cardboard box that the printer came in as adequate feline incarceration.

Considering all the above, at the moment it does not seem sensible or practical to change our current way of working. We may make exceptions later for some procedures, such as euthanasia. As time goes on, and hopefully more restrictions lift later this month and early next in response to fewer Covid cases and the control of current local outbreaks we will think again and get back to near normal working.

Read 822 times Last modified on Saturday, 05 June 2021 09:41
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