News from the Covid World
Testing: We have tried to keep members up to date with the fast changing landscape, most recently with updated guidance from the Faculty’s Ethics Committee. Within hours of last Friday’s newsflash an eagle eyed reader had spotted that a more up to date reference to Covid-19 testing kits was required and provided the link below – thank you!
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-tests-and-testing-kits-for-coronavirus-covid-19-work/for-patients-the-public-and-professional-users-a-guide-to-covid-19-tests-and-testing-kits  – The testing update was welcomed by the AoMRC  and included in their weekly bulletin for colleges.
Innovation: Our colleague Dr Deirdre Phelan has written to FOM highlighting an example of the innovation, mutual support and enthusiasm which the pandemic has harnessed:
“I wanted to share an amazing achievement involving some of my engineering colleagues in Rolls-Royce & the MTC in Coventry working in collaboration with medics at the Royal London to develop a shield for anaesthetists undertaking aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) on patients with COVID-19. The shield has been developed and deployed in 30 NHS hospitals since the start of lockdown with support from Innovate UK. They are currently working with a team of dentists and endoscopists to see if there is the ability to modify their design for use in these specialist areas. I’m supporting them where required from an OH perspective”
A Rolls Royce corporate communication from their website:
Other information, including an enquiry form is included in the link below:
Future planning: Thoughts are turning to planning for health and work following the Covid peak. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, representing colleges and faculties across the UK and Eire has produced a new report Developing professional identity in multi-professional teams  with an accompanying blog by the Academy Chair, blog by Carrie MacEwen on multi-professional working. Although focused towards direct clinical care there are themes relevant to Occupational Health practice.
The Scottish representative on FOM Council, Dr Sue Blair, also highlights work from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland, which has supported the principle of the need to bolster Occupational Health services in the NHS in Scotland – surely a message to be considered by the NHS across the four nations.
Risk assessment: is the current ‘go to’ phrase. FOM’s Academic Dean, Dil Sen has provided a useful and timely reminder of the principles involved:
“As part of managing the health and safety of any work activity one must control the risks in the workplace. To do this one needs to think about what might cause harm to people and decide on reasonable steps to prevent that harm. This is known as risk assessment and it is something that is required by law.
After identifying the Hazard, key factors when undertaking Risk Assessment are: environmental factors (including exposure measurement) and human factors (who might be at risk and how/why), which includes personal factors, health, risk behaviours etc.
With Covid-19, although we can readily identify the hazard and even exposure (e.g. environmental survey and testing), as well as some of the exposure risks (e.g. environmental survey, type of work being undertaken – clinic setting versus ITU), and there is a growing body of international scientific evidence to support this, what is unfortunately lacking is the evidence base on the personal risk factors as related to ethnicity, age, weight, and other pre-existing health conditions. We don’t know, for example, whether the risk is additive, synergistic. As more scientific evidence on such issues becomes available, our risk assessment advice may also need to change.”
Dr Anne de Bono
President, Faculty of Occupational Medicine