NEWS from the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative
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.