NEWS from the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative

IHC calls for clear guidance for complementary healthcare workers during local lockdowns

 

Posted: 5 August 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, asking for the government to provide clear guidelines during local lockdowns.

 

In recent weeks, it has become apparent that it may be necessary in the coming months for the government to introduce local lockdowns, often at short notice, in order to contain outbreaks of Covid-19.

 

Where such restrictions are necessary, the IHC has asked the government to provide clear guidance to workers on what they may, or may not do, during the period of lockdown. At present, the uncertainty and lack of uniformity means that therapists and practitioners, and other workers providing close contact services, do not know what is allowed, especially when measures are brought in at short notice. This could inadvertently result in rules being broken through ambiguity and lack of information.

 

The IHC has requested, therefore, that the government introduces a clear system covering the following items, so that when local lockdowns are introduced, complementary healthcare workers can readily access information through their local council for simple, clear answers.

 

close contact services allowed outside high risk zone around face? yes/no

close contact services allowed inside high risk zone around face? yes/no

providing close contact services in salons and clinics? yes/no

providing close contact services in the clients’ homes? yes/no

providing close contact services in dedicated rooms/spaces within practitioners own homes? yes/no

travel allowed for work purposes to points outside area of lockdown? yes/no

travel allowed for work purposes into a lockdown area? yes/no

providing close contact services to clinically vulnerable clients? yes/no

providing close contact services to clinically extremely vulnerable clients? yes/no

other services where social distancing can be maintained? yes/no

 

The IHC believes that a clear checklist such as above, which local councils could update as appropriate, would provide much needed clarity to help workers in this sector adhere to any restrictions, and contribute towards the effectiveness of local lockdowns.

IHC welcomes first Associate Members

 

Posted: 23 July 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative is delighted to welcome its first two Associate Members. Since our formation a few months ago we have been approached by many organisations wishing to be part of our work. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, and Homeopathy UK, are both well-established and highly regarded within the field, and will add to our pool of expertise and knowledge.

 

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is the UK voluntary regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners that was set up in 2008 with government funding and support. Its key purpose is to protect the public. CNHC makes the case to government and a wide range of organisations for the use of complementary healthcare to enhance the UK’s health and wellbeing, and seeks to influence policy wherever possible to increase access to the disciplines it registers.

Find our more about CNHC at https://www.cnhc.org.uk

 

Homeopathy UK was founded in 1902 as the British Homeopathic Association. It is the United Kingdom’s leading homeopathic charity committed to the promotion and practice of homeopathy. It wants homeopathy to be available for everyone who needs it, and offer affordable high-quality healthcare from our network of charitable clinics. Homeopathy UK also funds research and training for homeopaths and medical professionals.

 

Find out more about Homeopathy UK at https://homeopathy-uk.org

IHC welcomes return to work for complementary, traditional and natural healthcare sector

 

Posted: 14 July 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has welcomed the government’s announcement last week on close contact services, which means the return to work for therapists and practitioners working in complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry from 13th July in England. The IHC and its member organisations have been working hard for many months to help bring this about.

 

The last few months have been a difficult time for the whole country, but has a significant impact on this sector, because the majority of workers are self-employed or running small businesses. They are all delighted that they can return to work and start helping patients again, many of whom need support for the challenges that lockdown has brought. The huge level of support for this sector, and its contribution to health and wellbeing, was demonstrated by a change.org petition on the subject, which attracted over 20,000 signatures in 2 weeks.

 

IHC member organisations have been issuing guidance to their members for some weeks now, so that they can return to practice safely. It will be a great relief to everyone concerned to begin the long road back to normality. The IHC hopes that therapists throughout the UK will be able to return to work without delay, so is continuing to press the Scottish Government.

 

The IHC is committed to supporting therapists, helping patients, and improving healthcare, and will continue to pursue those goals and build a strong integrated health service which brings together the best of complementary, traditional and natural healthcare with conventional Western medicine.

 

For more information on the announcement, and the government’s guidance on working safely during Covid-19:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/beauty-salons-set-to-reopen-for-some-services-next-week-under-new-government-guidelines?fbclid=IwAR0x9XepT09GHq2R_JWEb994QpgcSxwYLkBNblwLZD4snOFcYuBer3yJeHk

 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ef2889986650c12970e9b57/working-safely-during-covid-19-close-contact-services-030720.pdf

10,000 people sign petition in 4 days calling for the return to work of all complementary healthcare workers

 

Posted: 30 June 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) backed petition, calling for the government to allow all complementary healthcare workers to be allowed to return to face-to-face consultations, has surged past 10,000 signatures in just 4 days.

 

IHC member organisations have been calling on the government to help support the safe and quick return of the whole sector for many weeks. On 13th May, over 7 weeks ago, a parliamentary petition was tabled calling for the government to work with them to bring that about. However, that petition, which should have been approved in 7 days, has still not been approved by the Petitions Committee.

 

The IHC’s Core members took decisive action to ensure that the voices of thousands of therapists and patients did not go unheard, and put down this charge.org petition. In gaining over 10,000 signatures in such a short space of time, this petition has shown the huge support that this industry has around the country. Had the petition been a parliamentary one, it would have now been waiting for an official government response, having obtained 10,000 signatures. The government should take note of that.

 

Perhaps more than ever, people need mental and physical support, and complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers want to help the country move forward from Covid-19. All IHC member organisations are committed to the safety of both their members, and patients, and have developed safe return to work guidance, which is in harmony with the government’s own guidance document ‘Keeping workers and clients safe during Covid-19’, published 23rd June.

 

The IHC hopes that the government will take note of the strength of public feeling displayed by the large number of signatures to the petition, and that it acts now to get the whole of this valuable sector back to work, and help the wider health and wellbeing of the nation.

 

You can still show your support and sign at:

 

http://chng.it/zJ7Qtfcn

Inconsistent government lockdown easing policies lack scientific basis and clarity says IHC

 

Posted: 25 June 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to the Prime Minister to demand the government explains its scientific justification for preventing complementary healthcare workers from returning to practice.

 

The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the government’s measures to control the spread of Covid-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to provide consultations in person, although many have continued to support clients remotely where possible. 

 

However, in recent weeks, the government has allowed professions, such as physiotherapists and podiatrists, who practise in a setting and mode of practice akin to complementary, traditional and natural healthcare workers, to return to work. In addition, hairdressers and barbers, who also provide close contact services, have now been told by the government that they too can return to work, as long as they take precautions.

 

The IHC is concerned that there does not appear to be any logic, clarity, or scientific basis to the government’s decision-making in this area. Indeed, many complementary healthcare workers believe that this policy is unfair, inconsistent, and discriminatory. The result is that this valuable sector of the healthcare workforce, and clients who use their services, continue to suffer.

 

Healthcare professionals in this sector contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. They want to return to practice as soon as possible, but cannot, because of this continued confusion and non-science-based policy-making by the government.

 

The IHC has asked the Prime Minister to publish the government’s scientific advice and justification for continuing to prevent the return to practice of this sector of the healthcare workforce, and to provide clarity on when they will be able to do so.

IHC asks Health Ministers to support complementary healthcare workers in returning to work quickly and safely

 

Posted: 11 May 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has written to Health Ministers across the UK to ask that complementary, traditional and natural healthcare therapists and practitioners be supported in a quick and safe return to work, highlighting the contribution they can make to health and wellbeing as the country recovers from Covid-19.

 

The complementary, traditional and natural healthcare industry has been fully supportive of, and compliant with, the Government’s measures to control the spread of Covid-19. As such, the majority of practitioners and therapists have been unable to practice normally during these difficult times, although many have continued to support patients remotely where possible. 

 

These healthcare professionals contribute to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of millions of people across the UK, and want to play their part in helping the country move forward in the aftermath of Covid-19. Thousands of workers in this sector want to return to practice as soon as it is safe to do so, and are waiting for detailed Government guidance on how it intends to begin to ease the lockdown. One of the key issues facing professional associations is how their members, who usually work face to face with their clients, will be able to safely return to practice. 

 

There are concerns that practitioners and therapists will be unable to secure face masks and hand sanitisers when they return to work, if Government advice requires their use as part of ensuring a safe working environment during Covid-19.

 

The IHC has asked the Government whether, in making preparations for allowing this valuable part of the healthcare workforce to return to work, it will consider how it can assist complementary, traditional and natural healthcare professionals in ensuring Covid-19 safe workplaces, and in securing the necessary supplies to work safely? If practitioners and therapists have to source their own, they risk being exploited financially through elevated prices, or being unable to acquire the necessary equipment in order to protect themselves and their patients.

 

IHC believes that these healthcare professionals can positively enhance the health and wellbeing of the population in the aftermath of Covid-19, and urges the Government to help them do so quickly and safely.

IHC calls for further assistance for self-employed complementary healthcare workers during Covid-19 crisis

Posted: 16 April 2020

The Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme on 26th March, as much of the complementary healthcare industry falls into this category.

 

However, there are concerns that Government action in this area will not reach a considerable number of these workers, leading to financial hardship for this valued subsection of the working population.

This group includes those:

• who became self-employed after April 5th 2019

• who have invested much of their profit in the start-up of their new business

 

These workers will receive no support unless they fit into the tight constraints of the Universal Credit system, which was originally developed for non-workers.

 

Some of our members have only been self-employed for this tax year, others have invested their net income, but all have shown commitment to their new careers by financing their training, completing a qualification, and by registering with a professional membership body. We would suggest that, where these criteria have been met, the Government offers some support at this difficult time.

 

We propose that there is a grant of £550 per month for any complementary healthcare worker who does not currently receive the employment or self-employment grants, but who holds a full membership with one of our recognised complementary healthcare organisations as of 1st January 2020.

 

This will provide, in some part, analogous provision with Government supported employees and the self-employed. This grant is comparable to those that have not been working, but on Universal Credit at £318 per month, and is currently less than the basic pension. The same grant of £550 could be provided to any workers that currently receive no support because they have chosen to show entrepreneurial spirit and re-invested their income in their new businesses, and therefore show little profit to date. The self-employed grant is wholly based on an ability to show profit, which many small businesses especially at start-up, do not.

 

This grant should also be provided, therefore, as a top-up to those businesses that have small profits reimbursed by the self-employment income support scheme but that deliver less than £550 per month. 

 

Secondly, where there are part-employed workers that depend on supplementing their paid income with their self-employment, there is now a considerable gap between their situation, and what both the employed and the self-employed receive, with 80% of their usual income protected by the Government’s income protection schemes.

 

Where income tax is paid annually on self-employment, regardless of any other income, the Government Self-employment Income Support Scheme should provide the standard profit-based grant. This would ensure parity for the part-time self-employed. 

 

Whilst IHC members appreciate the challenge the Government faces in supporting workers in need, but also preventing fraud, we ask it to show fairness and parity in its approach, and accept that some workers do not fall into the narrow boundaries of the current financial relief. 

 

We have therefore written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, calling for action to limit financial hardship for this subsection of the self-employed, which could prevent many micro businesses going out of business in the aftermath of Covid-19.

© 2020 by the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative.