The end of March 2020 was a strange time for us all, a surreal air hung over Prestwood; we could see the queues outside the Chemist, and everyone on the street looked a bit lost. We had already adopted most of the policies below and were prepared to stay open during Lockdown, but the lack of clarity from the government on who should stay open was mirrored by our professional organisation and a consensus formed amongst colleagues and staff that we had to close.
It was quite an effort to make contact with patients already booked in, (thank the lord for computerised diary systems!) some of the Osteopathy and Podiatry clinics were booked up well ahead. There was also much uncertainty from patients as to what to do and as fast as we could ring people, queries were being left on the answering machine. People were very understanding and whilst being closed is never good for business it was enjoyable chatting on the phone to our lively Podiatry patients (in particular), some time the same ones 3 times a day….
One of our colleagues, was able to continue to see ‘back pain’ emergencies whilst we were closed, and out Nutritionist, Hayley, was able to work through Skype; we did our best not to miss any calls. It was a great relief for us and for our elderly patients, in particular, when the College of Podiatrists clarified the protocols for them to get back to work and they slowly restarted on the 19th May. Again, it was enjoyable ringing everyone back to let them know, though many were uncertain what do, and sometimes… I was speaking to them 3 times a day….
Gradually in June we re-started the Osteopathy clinics and the Therapeutic Massage and Acupuncture soon followed. From that point we have not closed again, up and down with every lockdown, but never closed. Keeping everyone safe has, of course, been paramount. Perhaps some people think we have gone over the top, but better safe that sorry is our new motto!
We feel very fortunate to have limped through without anything too terrible happening. Our heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones as well as those whose businesses have been lost or, like those in the NHS, who have been put in danger for all our benefit.
It looks like we be carrying on the same measures for the foreseeable future, the below will give you a little flavour of how we are working:
- To facilitate social distancing our appointment numbers are significantly reduced, and the times staggered to minimise the possibility of patients meeting.
- We are asking patients to turn up precisely on time, so they will be able to enter straight into the treatment room, currently we are trying to avoid anyone waiting in reception.
- Everyone who enters the practice must wear a mask and they must sanitise their hands, (We have a wall sanitiser near the entrance).
- Where appropriate, practitioners will be wearing gloves and aprons that will be changed between patients. They may wear a face shield, where deemed necessary.
- Between patients, the rooms and couches will be wiped down and sanitised, as will all areas touched by the patient. The practice is being thoroughly and regularly cleaned, with additional cleaning following practitioners being in.
- Patients must not come in if they have any symptoms associated with Covid 19 or are cohabiting or have met anyone with Covid 19 in the last 2 weeks; or been notified by the Track and Trace system that they should be self-isolating, whether they have symptoms or not.
If you want more information on what we do, please visit our website www.prestwoodnaturalhealth.co.uk where you can now book appointments. Alternatively, you can ring our lovely receptionists (01495 864700) who will do their best to answer any questions.
Wishing you all the best of health! – Phil Allen (Osteopath & Practice Principal)