We are about to reopen our doors as the lockdown is being eased. So, what does this mean to how we will operate in the future? This article aims to walk through the process of making and attending your appointment. 
Safely getting back to business 
With the easing of lockdown restrictions businesses are slowly getting back to work. Not surprisingly, we are treading carefully as we re-emerge from the pandemic. We know this will be a slow process and, therefore, whilst treating our patients to restore their mobility and reduce their pain, our first priority is towards the safety of all involved. 
Consequently, based on guidance from the UK Government and our professional body, the College of Podiatry, we have made some changes in the way in which we book and see patients. Understanding and following these measures will ensure that you get the best treatment possible in the safest environment. 
Key elements to managing safety include: evaluation of patient condition and suitability to be treated; minimising the number of people within the clinic; respecting social distancing, where possible; ensuring personal cleanliness; and physical protection by using screens and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 
Making your appointment 
To ensure that we can manage and control access into the clinic we have decided only to allow those needing to attend for an appointment to enter. This means that, for the time being, we are only making booking by telephone. 
Making the initial appointment will take longer than usual since the receptionist will be asking a series of questions which will determine whether we are able to see you. Obviously, if you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has those symptoms we won’t be able to see you. Equally, if you are shielding, in self isolation or have relevant underlying medical conditions, it may not be possible to see you until your GP says it is safe to do so. 
You need to be aware that there is also a small potential increase in risk by coming to your appointment simply as a result of mixing with other people. You may need to consider if you are happy with this risk or if you would prefer to delay making your appointment. 
Coming to your appointment 
If you have been to us before, when you arrive for your appointment you will notice a number of changes so, to help familiarise yourself, please read on. 
PLEASE NOTE: If you start to exhibit symptoms of Covid-19 or come into contact with anyone who may have the virus prior to attending the appointment, please call us to cancel. 
Getting into the clinic 
The clinic now has an entry control mechanism which means that you may need to wait in order to gain entry. This protects both you and any other person in the clinic by ensuring appropriate distancing can be maintained. To keep number of people to a minimum within the clinic we can only allow you and an essential carer (if required). If anyone else comes with you we will respectfully ask for them not to enter the clinic. 
So that we minimise the number of people in the clinic at any one time, please adhere to your appointment time. If you arrive 30 mins early you will have to wait outside! Ideally, please arrive 5-10 mins before your appointment time. 
Please also note that we won’t be able to physically assist you entering the clinic or moving around the clinic. So, if you need help doing this then we can allow an essential carer to be with you BUT the carer must stay with you at all times, including during your treatment. 
Protection and safeguards whilst at the clinic 
We expect anyone visiting the clinic to use hand sanitiser (this will be at the door as you enter) and to wear a facemask at all times (we have these available as required at the reception desk). The wearing of facemasks and use of hand sanitiser is to protect others as well as yourself.  
We may refuse treatment if you do not comply with this request. 
If you want to use your own mask then that is ok but we may ask you to use a mask that we provide if we think that it is more appropriate. The one that we give you is yours to take away after your treatment! 
You (and your carer if required) must respect social distancing from others, wherever possible during your visit. The chairs in the waiting room are arranged to enable this. 
Reception staff are protected by new Perspex screens around the reception desk. This provides essential protection for all when rebooking appointments and making payment. 
At this time we are only operating a single treatment room in order to minimise the number of people in the clinic at any one time and the appointments are timed in order to minimise the cross over between patients. 
Before the podiatrist agrees to treat you they will need to take your temperature using a non-contact device near your forehead. This is to check the you don’t have a high temperature. If it is high, then we WON’T be able to treat you so please be aware of this before coming to your appointment. 
We will also require you to complete and sign a “consent to treatment” form and to update your medical history which will now include additional questions that the podiatrist will assist you with. 
Not surprisingly, the podiatrists will be wearing substantial PPE - full face visors, facemasks, gloves and aprons and so this appearance may be unfamiliar. However, this is required under the current guidelines for treatment. 
Appointments will be limited to 20 mins. Unfortunately, if further treatment is required we will need to rebook you. 
Making payment and rebooking 
We are not currently accepting payment by CASH and would prefer payment by contactless means. 
Please note that the maximum transaction amount using a contactless bank card has recently increased to £45 so this will cover most of the standard treatments. We also accept ApplePay and Android Pay via your smartphone. These have no payment limit. 
Payment by debit or credit card using your PIN is acceptable, although clearly you will need to physically touch the machine to complete the transaction. 
Please note that with all the additional measures that we have had to introduce, unfortunately we have had to slightly increase the price of treatment. This increase is £2 per appointment. We trust that you understand the need for this. 
And finally… 
If you need to order a taxi for your return journey then you will need to give plenty of notice to the taxi company. If you do need to wait at the surgery for any reason then we may have to ask you to wait in an area away from the main waiting room. 
Stay safe for everyone. 
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