Statement on PPE - Must Read
Posted on July 16 2020 at 11:35
Here is the reasoning behind MTI's decision-making on PPE. Read this whole statement if you want to make sure your insurance remains valid.
MTI is advocating best practice in our response to COVID-19, not the minimum. Along with colleagues at the GCMT and CNHC, MTI Chair Earle Abrahamson is working hard to represent us to government as health professionals. He and reps from other professional bodies have spent a lot of time in meetings explaining what we do and what massage therapy is.
Remember, at the start of lockdown we were considered on a par with massage parlours! It may be hard to understand from where we are, but most government decision makers have no idea what massage therapy is or the level of professional training we have. Our advocates are keen to show that if a second wave comes we can continue working as a support to the NHS as recognised health professionals.
Committing to wearing the full PPE the government guidelines suggest is one way we can show our level of professionalism. The government guidelines are confusing in this respect, seeming to suggest we need gloves in one section and not in another. So you need to bear in mind that the guidelines need to be taken as a whole, we cannot just take on board one part and ignore the bit that we don't want to implement. The important part as far as gloves are concerned is: "Unless crucial for the treatment, change practices to avoid any potential skin to skin contact or use gloves where possible.” After much debate, GCMT decided that skin to skin contact isn't crucial for massage and so is asking member organisations to recommend gloves. Each organisation has made its own decision on whether to follow these guidelines. There are insurance implications for any individual member that doesn't follow the advice of their professional association, more on that further down.
We also don't want to be in the situation where a COVID case is traced back to a massage therapist who wasn't wearing gloves, as that undermines the work done to represent us as health professionals.
It's also for client confidence, especially for those who are vulnerable due to their health. Members report clients already saying they are reassured to see their therapist in full PPE.
Wearing gloves (and visor and apron) also covers you if get an NHS track and trace call - if you can prove you were wearing full PPE when you were in contact with the COVID case, you don’t have to isolate. Otherwise, you will have to stop work for 14 days.
However, we cannot force anyone to wear gloves or other PPE, but, whatever you do, document your choices and why you have made that choice, referencing the government and GCMT guidelines. If you aren't following the GCMT guidelines YOU NEED TO PERSONALLY CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY to make sure they will still cover you. If you don't follow the guidelines and you don't take these steps, YOUR INSURANCE WILL NOT BE VALID.
While we acknowledge that Balens has made a statement that you need to follow your professional association's advice - we advocate that members who do not feel that the donning of PPE in the full sense is necessary, need to record reasons for their actions in a clear way. The risk is that failing to follow guidance could invalidate insurance and leave members exposed and at risk.
Do the right thing, protect yourself and those you care for and help us raise our profile.