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20 April: Covid-19 update for members

Monday 20 April

Covid-19 update from BSHAA Council

Current times are full of uncertainty and we are subjected to mixed and even confusing messages affecting both personal and professional lives.

With safety of members and their clients in mind, BSHAA issued emergency guidance on 23rd March. Working closely with colleagues across the whole audiology sector in the UK, on 9th April we jointly issued more comprehensive guidance which applies equally to all forms of audiology practice.

We advise all members that this guidance should be treated as mandatory in the current climate, a position backed by HCPC in relation to clinical standards. Insurers have advised that anyone not following this guidance runs the risk of invalidating their professional indemnity.

This guidance draws on all the latest directions on social distancing and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including the importance of recognising aerosol-generating processes in which transfer of the virus poses the greatest risks.

Maintaining everyone’s hearing ability is an important part of the Covid-19 response to minimise the impact of social distancing and isolation on an otherwise vulnerable community.

The guidance identifies procedures which are essential or urgent and provides clear boundaries to be maintained at differing levels of assessed risk. All practitioners should reflect carefully on the extent of their own scope of practice in the current climate. All their local procedures should be amended as necessary to comply with the published guidance for their own scope of practice.

Members should publish a clear statement for their clients outlining their response to Covid-19, including any restrictions they have introduced.

Professional judgement

The guidance provides the flexibility within which all BSHAA members should exercise their professional judgement in choosing whether to continue offering a restricted practice of essential and urgent care to meet their community needs, or to suspend services. For those members who choose to suspend, we have provided a detailed signpost to the various sources of business and financial support available.

We are aware in these stressful and anxious times that tensions within any profession are inevitable. This has been exacerbated in recent weeks, by apparently differing responses to the uncertainty, characterised by heated exchanges on social media. We would encourage all audiologists to exercise restraint, respect differing opinions, and work consistently to the jointly prepared, common guidance.

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