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