During these difficult times, at Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance we are working as hard as we can to provide advice and support to our practitioners. The majority of the country has been in lockdown since the end of March and we are now starting to see the number of new cases of COVID-19 fall. While the Government has indicated that some form of social distancing is likely to remain in place until a vaccine is developed, we have seen an easing of lockdown measures for certain sectors over the coming weeks enabling businesses to begin trading again.
As the largest supplier of medical indemnity insurance to the aesthetic sector, we are experiencing a huge increase in calls and enquiries asking for our advice and guidance on insurance matters, as we approach the unlock date for non-essential services such as those provided by many of our practitioner customers. This guidance issued by the Government is changing rapidly and, in some cases new announcements are being made with little or no prior warning. Guidance is also open to personal interpretation. Any advice we therefore publish is likely to become out of date very quickly which is why we have previously refrained from issuing sweeping statements.
However, where we can we will try to answer a few of the more common questions:
1) When can I start to provide treatments again?
Unfortunately we cannot provide any advice to this question but would strongly suggest that you follow Government guidance and the information supplied by your governing bodies such as the GMC, GDC or NMC.
2) Am I still insured if I re-open my practice before the Government advises?
The re-opening of your practice or business should be compliant with government advice, ensuring all health, safety and staff changes to your practice is compliant with the Government guidelines at that time. Should you re-open prior to any new guidance being issued, you take the risk that your insurance may not indemnify you should something go wrong.
Malpractice policies provide financial protection to you should the treatment go wrong. However, it is expected that you carry out these treatments in a responsible manner and in accordance with the protocols laid down by your governing bodies and public authorities. The risk is that a claim against you could be declined because by re-opening before Government advice deems you able to do so, you have acted in an irresponsible way.
This is why, as a responsible supplier of services to the cosmetic industry, we cannot provide a definitive answer to the question. You should only act in accordance with official guidelines at that time.
3) When I am in the process of reopening, what do I need to consider?
You should ensure that your workplace is made safe for all staff and customers, with increased frequency of cleaning and where possible staggered working shifts. Guidance suggests all businesses should use the following measures:
- Define the number of customers that can follow 2 meter social distancing rules within the clinic and publish this
- Take into account total floor space as well as “pinch points” such as doorways or corridors
- Limit the number of customers in-clinic at any one time
- Remove services that you can’t do safely, or, where close contact with customers is required, such as fillers and toxin injections, that you and your patient/customer wear good quality and relevant personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Ensure all disposable needles, swabs and other treatment delivery devices are correctly disposed of after every treatment and kept separate from any other ‘public’ waste bins Remove rubbish and waste from the premises at regular intervals throughout the day
- Consider whether changing rooms are essential, and ensure that they are cleaned after every use if they are kept open
- Use floor tape or paint to clearly mark 2 meter distances
- Limit the number of physical information leaflets provided to the patient and remove common magazines and reading material from waiting rooms
- Ensure product containers, such as creams and after care treatments, are thoroughly cleaned after contact with any patient or customer
- Ensure contactless payments can be made if possible
4) What if a member of staff becomes sick with the virus after we return to work?
Consider measures needed in case of a reoccurrence of the virus amongst staff, and preparations made for the closure and deep clean of the premises in this instance. This plan should include:
- Identification of a room or area where someone who is feeling unwell or has symptoms can be safely isolated
- How they can be safely transferred from the clinic to a health facility/home
- Agree the plan in advance with your partner health care provider or health department where possible
Consider the need for health declarations or taking the temperature of employees when returning to work
Preparing Your Place of Work: COVID-19 & Return to Practice guide by the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) should be used by practitioners to ensure that they comply with patient safety and public protection standards required by government agencies and by UK statutory professional and voluntary registers.
In addition the BACN has published Suggested Operational Guidelines for COVID-19 – Reintegration of Medical Aesthetic Services. The guidance aims to ensure practitioners are prepared for reopening their clinics and covers advice on preparing the clinical environment, managing consultations and treatments, organising consent and payment, as well as disinfection and PPE protocols.
We also recommend that all our practitioners follow the latest government guidance on COVID-19.
The Association of British Insurers has also published some information to help insurance customers where you can find answers to commonly asked questions.
As always, should you require any further assistance please get in touch with a member of your cosmetic insurance team.