The government finally heard us, after many years lobbying, and gave us our own category – Sports Therapy and Massage Therapy – back in March at the start of the first Lockdown. However, they did not give us the green light to return to work until mid-July. Meanwhile, other groups – such as osteopaths and physiotherapists, with whom we work alongside – never stopped, although they had strict guidelines to only treat emergency cases. It is clear that despite the new category, it is not understood what we do, and the value we offer – and therefore how we should be positioned.
We wish to be given the rightful status of “healthcare professional” and be recognised as “key workers”, working with soft tissue and managing pain – and therefore entirely suitable to continue to work during any future lockdowns.
To that end, we are busy lobbying parliament via our MP’s, business colleagues and organisations to help implant this vital information. It is a slow process, but is gathering momentum. If you haven’t yet written to your MP, then please do. The more voices out there, the better. Ask your clients too…
The return to work in July 2020 required the implementation of a number of behavioural and activity guidance, essentially aimed at protecting both our clients and ourselves. Much was challenging, often in turning a comfortable practice space into a Covid-secure clinical environment – and of course the cost. Not all the guidance has been met with a favourable response, especially the requirement to wear full PPE.
The GCMT – General Council for Soft Tissue Therapies – of which MTI is a member, has worked tirelessly to make sense of the government legislation and to provide help, support and guidance to all its member associations.
The GCMT therefore created vital documents to help therapists with returning to and continuing to be able to work.
The first is a series of recommended guidelines. There is a lot of info, as it is very thorough – but enjoy reading it and becoming familiar with the current thinking and status quo. It was written back in May as the introduction to the “new normal” so some elements may not be entirely up-to-date. But the core is still relevant.
The second is The Resource Pack – Version 3. Published in early November, with earlier versions in June and August, and entirely up-to-date. With key guidance, updated risk assessments and client facing documentation.
And finally, as we are now in a Tier system across the UK, an addendum to Version 3 with guidance specifically for Lockdown 2 and now the Tier system. As the legislation for L2 failed to mention Sports Therapists and Massage Therapists, despite the new categorisation, it created a loophole where practice is possible, depending on your qualifications, but with very strict guidelines. The same applies to the Tier system – with the exception of Tier 4, when it is recommended that you don’t work, as it is simply not safe enough. And for Lockdown 3.
Essentially if you are a registrant on an accredited register, you can work in exceptional circumstances – and are eligible to request a vaccine jab.
If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact us via email.
PS: Earle is the Chair of the GCMT and Jennie is a Director of MTI and sits on the GCMT board. Both are members of the GCMT Covid-19 Crisis Group, and Jennie has been responsible for developing the majority of the documents published in the Resource Packs.