01 Apr 2020

Dietitians and support workers are playing an important role on the frontline of the healthcare response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dietitians are ensuring patients get appropriate nutrition and hydration (often via parenteral or enteral routes) to aid recovery from this acute illness, and to support their on-going rehab when they recover.

Equally, many patients with other chronic and acute illnesses continue to need support to manage or treat a wide range of health conditions.

However, during the COVID-19 outbreak, all direct contact with patients or service users, whether or not they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, increases risk for both our members and patients. Therefore, at every opportunity, members should minimise contact time with patients or service users, either by prioritising caseloads or using digital options:

  • Any non-essential appointments should be reorganised, undertaken remotely or cancelled. Even for essential appointments, if they can be delivered digitally, they should be.
  • Healthcare providers and employers should ensure that digital/telehealth options are introduced as a matter of urgency.
  • Where a face-to-face appointment is unavoidable, appropriate PPE (in line with government guidelines and BDA recommendations) and appropriate risk management should be implemented (e.g. minimising the number of people at the appointment)
  • Employers, insurers or clients should treat any digital consultation or appointment as equivalent to a face-to-face appointment for the purposes of contracts and payment.

The BDA has produced guidance on the use of digital tools.

The BDA Trade Union would encourage any member concerned that their wellbeing is not being safeguarded to get in touch.

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