As we all negotiate the new reality of lockdown, we are writing to let you know the further actions the ACP is taking in relation to the COVID-19 virus.
On Friday we held a number of meetings which considered the implications of COVID-19 for the ACP as an organisation and for its members as practitioners working with children and young people and families.
Professional Standards Committee addressed in particular the impact on members in independent practice, who work without the structures of a Trust or other employer and may be seeing a fall in their practice as a result of having to work online or on the phone. It is clear that a framework is needed to ensure that all members, whether in the NHS or working independently, practice safely, as well as support for members at a very challenging time. We are working on further guidance to be issued soon, as well as further support measures.
More immediately, in addition to the advice issued last week, we would recommend that you think of putting in place a holding arrangement whilst you think through what is needed for the longer-term, and of ensuring that you have the explicit consent of the parent/carer to any new arrangement. Interim measures might include increasing parental support if young patients are unable or unwilling to maintain contact digitally. Some patients or their parents/carers may not initially want to move to online working, but it may be important to leave the door open, so that once the difficult business of managing daily life has settled down a bit, patients can come back to therapy. It may also be the case it is not
appropriate to see some children remotely and working with parents or carers either without or with their children might be more appropriate. Each case will need to be carefully considered. Maintaining individual and peer supervision will also be a vital part of managing all this safely.
Training Council, together with the Heads of the training schools, considered the impact on trainees and service supervisors, and have formed a working group to think this through in detail. Further communications about this may come via the ACP or via training schools.
Trainees are part of the wider membership working in NHS Trusts, and there are a range of impacts on members here. Possible redeployment, working to cover the withdrawal of emergency services as well as suspending therapy or moving the work online are all developments taking place across the country. It is vitally important that all members work to our competences and within our Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics but those working for a Trust or other employer also need to follow their employer’s guidance. It is particularly important that members follow their Trust’s
policy on working with patients remotely and the clinical governance arrangements around this. Everyone is learning and trying to adapt so guidance may change. Members worried about being asked to work beyond their competence can challenge this, and if needed, can contact their local union rep, as well as informing the ACP’s union reps, as outlined in our email last Friday.
The Board also met on Friday and considered the impact of COVID-19 on members, and also on the organisation itself. They approved the creation of a COVID-19 Response Team (CRT), made up of the relevant Directors and Leads across the ACP. This group met yesterday for the first time and will be meeting weekly on Fridays, so that we can think about the impact on the ACP and provide you with the best support and guidance we can.
We would also like to emphasise to all members that making use of supervision is crucial at this difficult and challenging time. The ACP’s Facebook page is also a resource in this situation, where members can ask other members for advice. Members of the CRT are joining this online forum, to give advice where we can, and to hear your concerns so that we can respond to them when possible.
The page is a closed community of ACP members. To join:
- Create a Facebook account at www.facebook.com. You don’t have to use your real name and if you use a different-from-usual email address no-one can search for you. See instructions on how to create a Facebook account here.
- You then need to join the ACP group. You won’t find us by searching for it – you need to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving the email address you used to create your account and we can then send you an invitation to join.
From the ACP’s COVID-19 Response Team