Covid-19 secure and what to expect from treatment

Keeping everyone safe – COVID-19 secure

Your acupuncture treatment – what to expect

Acupuncture itself

Social distancing

Privacy and your data

Fees, payment options and cancellations

My patients enjoy coming for their treatments, and I do my very best to make everyone who walks through my door as warmly welcome as I can. I always work to the highest safety and hygiene standards. Now, to keep us all as safe as possible, I have of course, put in place special measures to minimise any risk of transmission and to ensure that my premises are COVID-19 Secure. You’ll find me wearing a mask and visor – as per government guidelines – but hopefully you’ll see the smile in my eyes!

The processes I have in place are regularly reviewed and updated to incorporate latest government advice and stringent guidelines on best practice from my professional body, the British Acupuncture Council. Special measures include continuing risk assessment and new social distancing, hygiene, handwashing and PPE procedures. Further details on what I’m doing to comply with government regulations and on how you can help us all stay safe when you come for your treatment session are included in the information on what to expect at your acupuncture treatment below.  

During in-person appointments maintaining two and even one metre distancing is of course not possible. I will meet very high standards of infection protection control, but I’m sure you’ll understand that it is impossible to eliminate risk completely. Before treatment starts, I will ask you to sign a consent form specifically confirming that you understand this and are happy to proceed with the treatment.  This will include an additional risk assessment if you are classed as clinically vulnerable.

I am now required to share your contact details with the NHS Test and Trace service. Find out more about this by clicking on the link here: Sharing your information with NHS Test and Trace service

 
Your acupuncture treatment: what to expect 

I hope you’ll find the following information helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Preparing for your initial consultation 

In line with current guidance to minimise face-to-face contact, your initial consultation will take place remotely as you choose – by phone / your preferred online platform – Skype or Zoom / or on my preferred telemedicine platform: doxy.me, which is very simple to use.  We’ll discuss your reasons for seeking treatment and I will also take a full medical history. This conversation will probably last around an hour.  

  • It will useful if you can have a list the names/doses of any medications you are taking to hand. 

 I will ask you about your current and past health, as well as your general wellbeing. As you know, in Chinese medicine, diagnosis involves looking at the whole person, looking beyond the labels of symptoms or illnesses, so some of my questions may at first seem unrelated to your condition. Please be reassured that I am seeking information in a structured way, in order to make a diagnosis and treatment plan that is customised to you as an individual. You do not need to share any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.  

Your first in-person appointment 

As you will be aware, all public places are subject to government rules for visitors’ own safety and the safety of others. Please read through the measures I’m taking before coming for your in-person appointment. If you have any further questions, please get in touch. 

I will contact you by phone either the day before, or earlier on the actual day of your appointment to go through a COVID-19 symptoms checklist. This list will probably be familiar by now. If you do have symptoms, we will reschedule your appointment.   

Social distancing   

My treatment room is at Meraki Hair and Beauty. This is a shared space, and we are doing all we can to help our clients be at a two-metre distance from other people in the salon and treatment area.  

For information on how my colleagues at Meraki are working to keep you safe, visit the Meraki website https://www.merakisalon.co.uk  

For social distancing reasons, unless you require assistance for specific support and care needs, we ask you to come alone for the appointment, unless a chaperone, parent or carer is required. We will have discussed arrangements for this beforehand.  

Please leave accessory items (bags and coats) in the car, or travel with as little as possible.   

You will receive a specific time for your appointment. I’d be grateful if you could wait outside until that time, when I will call you into the building. There is plenty of car parking space immediately outside Meraki if you wish to wait in your car. Appointments are spaced to allow time for thorough cleaning of the treatment area between each patient. I’ll also change all covers, blankets, pillowcases and towels before I am ready to welcome you into the treatment area.  

I ask all patients to comply with government advice, by wearing a face mask to enter and leave the clinic. I understand that some people may have compelling reasons not a wear a mask, and if this is so, I’d be grateful if you could mention this before coming for your treatment. It may be appropriate to ask you to remove your mask during your appointment. I will also ask you to sanitise or wash your hands immediately on arrival.  

If you need to sneeze or cough while in the clinic, please do so into a disposable tissue and throw it away immediately. Please wash your hands immediately after doing so.   

I will be wearing appropriate PPE – certainly initially a medical grade mask – to greet you. I may add a visor to carry out some parts of the treatment, particularly when standing closer to your face.  

Sessions do involve an element of physical examination, including any tender or problem areas, temperature distribution and left/right balance. This examination is relevant  whatever your health issues may be, as it tells me about the way your individual system works. I will ask you to loosen or remove some items of clothing off (never your underwear). You may wish to wear loose fitting clothes to your appointment. I will keep touch to a minimum and will lose count of the times I will hand wash and sanitise during your treatment! 

Consent to treatment 

Your signature to consent to treatment is required by my professional body, the British Acupuncture Council. I will also ask you to confirm you do not have any symptoms associated with the corona virus.  

At last – the acupuncture treatment itself! What does treatment involve? 

I will be using very fine, sterilised, single-use needles for your treatment. The number of needles is kept to a minimum, and I may insert and remove them immediately, or leave them in place for a few minutes. Some people notice a tingling or slight dull ache on some points and not others, while some feel nothing at all. Most find the whole experience very relaxing.  As treatment progresses, I may use additional techniques which I will fully explain and for which I will seek your consent on the day.  

  • It will be very helpful if you keep make up and scented products to a minimum (please do not use perfume, for example), and you may wish to wear loose, comfortable clothing.  
  • It’s good idea to make sure you are hydrated, and you may wish to have a light snack up to an hour before treatment.  

Before you leave 

Again in line with safe practice guidelines, I will remind you to contact me if you develop any symptoms associated with the corona virus within 48 hours of your appointment. This will help keep me and all my patients safe.  

You may wish to wash or sanitise your hands before leaving.  

After the treatment 

Some people find that they feel more relaxed, even to the point of being quite sleepy, after their first acupuncture treatment. You will be fine to drive, but you may wish to have a snack and drink in the car for after your appointment. We are unable to offer any refreshments other than bottled water.  

If you have any questions or concerns after your treatment, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

Data, privacy and marketing consent 

All personal details that you share with me will remain absolutely confidential.  There’s more information on how I comply with date handling legislation in my privacy policy.

I’m now obliged by law to retain your contact information and, if requested to do so, share it with NHS Test and Trace. Read here for specific information on obligations during the pandemic.

Fees and payment options 

From 1 October the charge for each session in-person or online is £50. At the moment I encourage payment by card or by bank transfer. I’m sorry I can’t accept cash or cheques. 

Cancelling or rescheduling an appointment 

If you find you can’t make an appointment, please contact me as soon as possible. I understand that life – and illness – get in the way and am happy to book another appointment that’s convenient for you.  

However, please be aware that I do operate a cancellation policy, which may mean that if you reschedule or cancel your appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice, you may incur the full treatment fee. I always use discretion about applying charges: if you do need to miss or reschedule an appointment simply contact me as soon as possible.  

COVID-19 Secure: Are you classed as clinically vulnerable? If so, your practitioner will discuss specific risks with you before you come for treatment.

Clinically vulnerable people. People in this category of risk include: 

1 Anyone aged 70 and older (regardless of medical conditions) 

2 Anyone under 70 with an underlying health condition (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds) – such as: a chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis b chronic heart disease, such as heart failure c chronic kidney disease d chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis e chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy f diabetes g a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines (such as steroid tablets ) h being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above) i pregnant women 

Clinically extremely vulnerable people 

People in this category of risk include: 

1 Solid organ transplant recipients. 

2 People with specific cancers: a people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy 

b people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy 

c people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment 

d people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer 

e people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors 

f people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs 

3 People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

4 People with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell). 

5 People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection. 

6 Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired. 

7 Other people have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions. 

More information about who has been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable is available  on the NHS Digital website.  

NHS Test and Trace: recording your details and how your information is used

To support NHS Test and Trace (part of the Department for Health and Social Care) in England, I have been mandated by law to collect and keep a limited record of patients and visitors who come onto the premises, for the purpose of contact tracing.

By doing this, and by sharing these records with NHS Test and Trace where requested, I can help to identify people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. As a patient you will be asked to provide the following basic information: 

•your name

•contact phone number

•date of visit, and your arrival and departure times

As the data controller for the collection of your personal data, I will be responsible for compliance with data protection legislation for as long as I hold your information. When that information is requested by the NHS Test and Trace service, at that point they would be responsible for compliance with data protection legislation for that period of time. 

The NHS Test and Trace service, as part of safeguarding your personal data, has in place technical, organisational and administrative security measures to protect your personal information that it receives from us/me, that it holds from loss, misuse, and unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. 

In addition, if you only interact with me during your visit, my name will be recorded alongside your information. 

NHS Test and Trace have asked me to retain this information for 21 days from the date of your visit, to enable contact tracing to be carried out by NHS Test and Trace during that period. I will only share information with NHS Test and Trace if it is specifically requested by them. 

For example, if another patient at the clinic reported symptoms and subsequently tested positive, NHS Test and Trace can request the log of patient/visitor details for a particular time period (for example, over a particular treatment slot, day, two-day period). 

I will require you to prebook appointments for visits or to complete a form on arrival. 

Under government guidance, the information I collect may include information which I would not ordinarily collect from you and which I therefore collect only for the purpose of contact tracing. Information of this type will not be used for other purposes, and NHS Test and Trace will not disclose this information to any third party unless required to do so by law (for example, as a result of receiving a court order). In addition, where the information is only collected for the purpose of contact tracing, it will be destroyed by me 21 days after the date of your visit. 

However, the government guidance may also cover information that I would usually collect and hold onto as part of ordinary dealings with you (for example, your name, date of birth and phone number). Where this is the case, this information only will continue to be held after 21 days and I will use it as I usually would, unless and until you tell me not to. 

Your information will always be stored and used in compliance with the relevant data protection legislation. 

The use of your information is covered by the General Data Protection Regulations Article 6 (1)(c) – a legal obligation which this clinic is subject to. The legal obligation to which I am subject, means that I am mandated by law, by a set of new regulations from the government, to co-operate with the NHS Test and Trace service, in order to help maintain a safe operating environment and to help fight any local outbreak of coronavirus.

By law, you have a number of rights as a data subject, such as the right to be informed, the right to access information held about you and the right to rectification of any inaccurate data that I hold about you.

You have the right to request that I erase personal data about you that I hold (although this is not an absolute right).

You have the right to request that I restrict processing of personal data about you that I hold in certain circumstances.

You have the right to object to processing of personal data about you on grounds relating to your particular situation (also again this right is not absolute).

If you are unhappy or wish to complain about how your information is used, you should contact me in the first instance to resolve your issue.

If you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Their website address is www.ico.org.uk.

I keep my privacy notice and I will make new versions available on my privacy notice page .

Thank you for wading through all this! I look forward to seeing you in my treatment room, for a relaxing and restorative acupuncture treatment.