On 12th March 2020 FOM and the NHS Health at Work Network issued an interim information sheet to provide some background, particularly for those providing OH services in the NHS, and to identify the main links to PHE national guidance. The document was in line with PHE guidance at the time of issue. However, there have been further developments since then, and this update replaces the 12th March information sheet.
NHS England has moved to a ‘command and control’ level 4 situation and so only guidance that goes through the centre (Single Point of Control SPOC) will be considered valid.
Updated guidance on staff exposures to COVID-19 has been issued by PHE, including actions required when a case was not diagnosed on admission .
As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, National Guidance is being updated on a regular basis, and it will be for individual organisations to implement this guidance in accordance with their local circumstances.
OH advice should be part of strategic planning processes, particularly in the NHS and healthcare. Our aim is to protect and maximise the health and well-being of staff , contributing to their safe care of patients.
Advice and assessment on both an organisational and individual basis have a part to play. There is inevitably some frustration when things are changing rapidly or specific guidance is sought but not immediately available. The guidance in relation to COVID-19 exposures has altered significantly over the past few days; specific guidance in relation to groups of staff who may be at particular risk would be welcome.
I am continuing to liaise with colleagues across the UK and to represent our specialty in the wider forum. We will alert you to further national guidance as it is published. Meanwhile this update is brought to you via FOM’s ‘Remote Office’ which has been established with commitment and enthusiasm by our FOM staff team.
Dr Anne de Bono, President
Faculty of Occupational Medicine