College update for members in Wales on the easing of restrictions
Update following the announcement by the First Minister of Wales
First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today, 14 July 2021, that Wales will move to alert level one from Saturday 17 July 2021. If the public health situation allows, Wales will move to a new alert level zero from Saturday 7 August 2021.
Therefore, from Saturday 7 August you no longer need specific consent to treat during the pandemic. You must still gain informed consent as per our Consent Standard for all examinations and treatments you undertake as you would do before the pandemic. As healthcare professionals, Public Health Wales requires you to wear the same levels of PPE wherever you work - see COVID-19: Infection, prevention and control. The wearing of facemasks by the public will continue to be mandatory for those over the age of 11 years unless a medical exemption applies. This is expected to continue for some time.
The College recommends that it is good practice to continue to categorise patients using red, amber and green; this is in case restrictions are reinstated, especially later in the year. However, after 7 August, you will no longer need to use the decision tree or undertake remote consultations as the preferred way of seeing patients.
Appointment times can also become more normalised from this time, but you should still be cleaning properly between each patient. You may wish to take this into account when setting appointment slots. As the government and Royal College issue further guidance, the College will let members know.
From Saturday 17 July, those members who employ staff in Wales will be required to provide comprehensive information on the risks and mitigations identified in their COVID risk assessment with their employees. This information should already form part of your workplace risk assessment. Should you require any additional assistance then please contact the Employment Support team.
Members working in Northern Ireland must continue to follow the current guidance to triage patients, maintain social distancing in their workplace and wear PPE. When a government announcement for these areas is made, the College will update members.
Members in England should follow the guidance released by the College for their region - see College update to members in England.
Members in Scotland should follow the guidance released by the College for their Region - see College update for members in Scotland.