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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued updated guidance on the infection prevention and control (IPC) principles required to prevent transmission of Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses.

The IPC principles apply to all UK health and social care settings, including the independent/private sector, mental health and learning disabilities, primary care, care homes, care at home, maternity, and paediatrics, and aim to minimise disruption to health and social care services through the 2021/22 winter period.  

Key guidance points:

Universal use of face masks for all employees and face masks/coverings for all patients/visitors to remain as an IPC measure within health and social care settings. (Section 5.1)

Physical distancing should be at least one metre, increasing whenever feasible to two metres across all health and social care settings. (Section 6.1)

Screening, triaging and testing for Covid-19 to continue over the 2021/22 winter period. (Section 5.5)

Gloves are not required unless exposure to body fluids, non-intact skin or mucous membranes is anticipated or likely. Gloves are not required when undertaking administrative tasks ie. writing patient records. (Section 6.5.2)

Aprons are not required unless providing direct care for patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection. Aprons are not required when undertaking administrative tasks ie. writing patient records. (Section 6.5.3)

The new guidance has been developed for all nations, organisations and employers to adopt, adapt and implement in accordance with existing local governance procedures.

While this guidance seeks to ensure a consistent and resilient UK-wide approach, some differences in operational detail and organisational responsibilities may apply, where current legislation or guidance already exists. Country-specific policy and guidance for:

England: Compendium of guidance and resources: COVID-19

Scotland: National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM)

Wales: Health and social care professionals: coronavirus and NIPCM - Public Health Wales

Northern Ireland: Guidance for professionals and organisations

The new guidance, which supersedes previous IPC Covid-19 guidance, was issued jointly by DHSC, Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, NHS National Services Scotland, UK Health Security Agency and NHS England, and published on their behalf by UKHSA.

Click here for further information on infection control precautions (section 5) and transmission-based precautions (section 6).

Chiropractors should continue to exercise their professional judgement in determining whether it is appropriate to see any, and each, patient.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the GCC has consistently stated that for patients in need of care a registrant must have regard to the Code, and must:

  • put patients’ health first, respect them and ensure that you promote their health and welfare at all times (Principle A)
  • prioritise patients’ health and welfare at all times when carrying out assessments, making referrals or providing or arranging care (Standard A5)
  • treat patients in a hygienic and safe environment (Standard A6)

Read Nick Jones' blog on IPC guidance and the Omicron varient of Covid-19