Coronavirus Emails

(messages sent to our members - click title to open/close messages)

Update 22/5/20 2020-05-22

Coronavirus Update 22/5/20

Dear member

WARNING: We have heard reports of journalists contacting massage therapists to try to book hands-on treatments. We can only assume this may be with the aim of publishing an article showing that our industry is not following the government is guidelines and putting the public at risk.

Please keep up the sacrifice we are all making for the safety of ourselves, our clients, our community and now even our profession.


On its way: We are finalising our ‘Return to Work’ guidelines and expect to send them to you all next week. In the meantime, don’t be alarmed by the guidance being show on the websites of some other associations in our sector. They seem to be describing the stringent health and safety procedures needed by those working in face-to-face situation at this present time. But we will not be allowed to resume hands-on treatments until stage 3 when the risks will be lower and we are not treating sick people. So the procedures we will need to follow then will be far less stringent.

We hope you can relax and enjoy the weekend as best you can and we will be in contact again next week.

Best wishes

ISRM

 

Update followup 2020-05-12

Follow-up to last Update 12/5/20

Dear Member

The Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday about opening up the economy was not as clearly defined as many were hoping and this has caused some confusion with a number of our members asking us for clarification.

The confusion is because it appears that Physiotherapists are allowed to work under “health services” and this has led some to think that we should be able to do the same, but this is not the case. Physios, Osteos and Chiros are all Statuary Regulated professions and considered Health Professions. We are part of the Complementary Healthcare profession which is not regulated by HCPC. It is unfortunate the government has used the term “health services” because this is too vague and misleading. HCPC and most other health regulated services are exempt from the closedown but massage and soft tissue therapy are not.

We are attaching the full 60-page government document “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy” for your own inspection.

ISRM has a priority to safeguard our members and the public so we have reviewed this document very carefully. We know the difficulties it causes us and our clients if we don’t work but, together with other professional associations in our sector, we believe that at this time we must still remain closed.

The key points we have considered in making this decision are:

-There is no testing system available to ensure that an asymptomatic client or therapist is not carrying and passing on the virus.

-The Government Guidelines for professions which require "sustained contact" (personal care such as hairdressers and beauty salons) may reopen while following WITH COVID-19 SECURE GUIDELINES around 4th July at the earliest.  

-Healthcare Professions like Physiotherapy and Osteopathy are differently regulated and are considered able to provide emergency treatments. The advice for them is to only work face-to-face if absolutely necessary and with strict COVID-19 SECURE GUIDELINES which involves PPE.

Guidelines for Physiotherapists are that "they should continue to work with a Virtual first approach....this is because of the risk of virus transmission during face to face activity......Clinicians should weigh up a variety of factors ......the clinician must be able to justify that the benefits of seeing a patient face to face demostrably greater than the risks of infection transmissions". (extract taken from CSP guidelines)

-When we do return to work we will also require PPE and along with thousands of other therapists there will be a big demand for the equipment. We do not want to be in competition with the NHS in the sourcing of this equipment at the present time. 

ISRM has done a risk assessment of the profession, carefully reviewed the Government's Covid-19 Recovery Strategy Document and as a Professional Association in an unregulated industry we feel this is the best guidance for our members at this particular time, we will review the situation weekly and speak to other stakeholders to ensure a united and informed approach.

Thank you

ISRM

 

C Update 11/5/20 2020-05-11

Dear Member

Having listened carefully to the Prime Minister’s TV broadcast on Sunday evening, the easing up of the lockdown restriction are still very minor for the time being. The only light I could see at the end of the tunnel for us was the suggestion that Massage and Soft Tissue Therapy could be opened up in July. This is still a very long wait for us, and our clients, but we must prioritise the health of our community above our own personal circumstances.

From 13th May you can apply for a grant through the coronavirus Self-Employment income scheme:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#eligible

Thanks to the financial support available we should all be able to survive until we are able to work again.

We are concerned that other organisation in our industry are already giving advice to their members about the health and safety practices they will need to adopt when the time comes. We worry that this advice is too early and could encourage therapists to start working too soon, before it is safe for our wider community. Also, what they show so far is all standard advice anyway.

At ISRM we want to take the time we have to think it through more thoroughly with the advice of HSE and people with expertise in health and safety. We will be coming out with a comprehensive set of guidelines in due course and in plenty of time for you all to prepare for re-starting your practice.

Webinar with James Earls on Friday 8th May.

Judging from the feedback we have had from members, and our own impressions, this was a great success. As well as being highly informative James presented it a very relaxed, intimate and friendly way which I am sure we could all enjoy.

There were well over 400 members logged in at the start and even at the end, after 2 hours, there were still about 250 online. We are sorry that some of you were unable to log in and others lost their connection or had to leave before the end, we will see if we can sort these issues out better next time. We are in the process of getting a recording of the event online and will send the access details for this as soon as we can. 

Good luck and stay healthy. ISRM

C virus update 30/4/20 2020-04-30

Dear Member

After the initial trauma of the lockdown I think we are all now settling into our strange new reality. Each of us has our own unique set of personal circumstances to deal with and we hope that whatever they are you are all coping well enough with them.

There is talk and speculation about re-opening the economy and we must all be wondering where Massage and Soft Tissue Therapy will fit into this. We just have to play a waiting game to see what the government policy and guidelines will eventually be. For legal and professional reasons, we have to work within the government guidelines and until we know these it would be wrong to speculate. We are following the news as diligently as we can and will continue to give you the best advice we can, as quickly as we can.

In the meantime

We hope you have found the online techniques videos useful. Another one has just been added on the ‘Basic Principles of Rehabilitation’ and we are looking forward to adding more by other therapists very soon. We have also added a category called “Members videos that we particularly enjoy” starting off with some informative and very entertaining videos from Matt Scarsbrook. If you have any good videos that you think will benefit or entertain ISRM members then please send me a link ( mel@theisrm.com ) so we can have a look before listing them.

ISRM is going to run its first Webinar (with hopefully more to follow) on zoom on Friday 8th May at 5pm to 7pm with James Earls titled What’s the Use of Soft Tissue? James has been a good friend of ISRM for very many years and is a highly renowned presenter and author. I am personally delighted he has offered us this webinar.

We will send details of how to join the Webinar on a separate email which will follow shortly.

Students Update 23/4/20 2020-04-23

ISRM Students Update 23/4/20

We are starting to hear the government talk about businesses opening up again but at the moment there is too much speculation with no firm facts to go on. The situation at this time is that our courses have been postponed and are all expected to resume as soon as possible.

It is likely that some categories of business will be able to start up sooner than others and there will be new health and safety guidelines to go with this. I expect we will get some advance warning and your school will let you know how they intend to proceed as quickly as possible. We expect to re-schedule all classes and also decide what practical safety procedures we will put in place to comply with the new guidelines.

In the meantime, I hope you are finding the online video clips helpful. I am slowly working on recording some of the talks I give during the course but it’s taking longer than I imagined for practical reasons during the lockdown. We have just uploaded the first one onto the ISRM website and is about getting the most from the written assignments. You can see it when you go into your assignments. There will be more to follow and I will keep you updated.

Thank you and good luck

Mel Cash

Coronavirus student update 26/3/20 2020-03-26

Coronavirus latest update from ISRM for Student members

We are all going through very a difficult time, probably stuck in our homes worrying about health, finance and the well-being of ourselves and those we care about. We want to help support our student members as best as we can but there are few options available to us at the present time. One minor but important problem we may all face is ‘boredom’ and ISRM can do something to help with this.

A lot of our qualification is already done online with the written assignments and case studies and you can certainly be getting on with these. We are very reluctant try to teach the practical hands-on techniques online because you really need the learning experience from practicing with fellow students, with the supervision and close guidance from experienced tutors. Despite the present uncertainty it is our intention to provide you with proper classroom training for the essential hands-on techniques as soon as we are safely able to and not replace this with online lessons.

However, we realise how frustrating this time is and there is something we can do. We have just uploaded onto the ISRM website, for members only, 25 online CPD courses covering all the main elements of our BTEC qualification. For those of you nearing the end of you ISRM training this will all be very useful for learning and revision. For those of you who are earlier on in your training you must be very careful if you try-out any techniques which are beyond your current point in time on your course. Only use them on fit healthy people and always use great caution.   

 

ALSO

Please take advantage of free Premium membership to KenHub which is a fantastic anatomy education resource.

Both these can be found on your login page at www.theisrm.com

Good luck and stay healthy

ISRM

 

Coronavirus - help for self-employed 2020-03-26

Latest update 26/3/20

Financial support for the Self-employed during the Coronavirus crisis

We have been anxiously waiting for the Government to announce how they will support the self-employed (which most of us therapists are) and we heard some very postive news a few hours ago. Please see the attached document which has a lot of advice that we should all find helpful and reassuring.

 

Good luck and stay healthy

ISRM

 

Coronavirus update 25/3/20 2020-03-25

Coronavirus latest update from ISRM

We are all going through very a difficult time, stuck in our homes worrying about health, finance and the well-being of ourselves and those we care about. We are still waiting to hear better news from the Government about financial support for the self-employed. What they are offering so far is only linked to sick-pay and Universal Credit which is less than £100 a week and this is desperately too little for us. I hope and expect that the Government will come under increased pressure to tackle the needs of the self-employed more appropriately.

We want to help support our members as best as we can but there are few options available to us at the present time. One minor but important problem we may all face is ‘boredom’ and ISRM can do something to help with this. We have just uploaded onto the ISRM website, for members only, 25 online CPD courses covering all the main elements of our BTEC qualification. We hope that you will make use of these to keep your minds stimulated and maybe to remind you of some techniques you may have forgotten.

All our members can take advantage of free Premium membership to KenHub which is a fantastic anatomy education resource. You can use the quizzes to test your knowledge and there is so much good information on this website that I am sure we can all use it to improve our knowledge.

Perhaps at the end of this crisis we may at least be slightly better therapists.

Good luck and stay healthy

ISRM

Log in to www.theisrm.com

 

Coronavirus advice to students 2020-03-20

Dear Student Member of ISRM

We have been working hard this week giving advice and support to our full members because most are self-employed working therapists who are losing their income because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We realise that some of our students are also therapists and may not be getting the same advice elsewhere, and it is something perhaps you should all consider.

As a professional association ISRM must look after your safety first therefore we need to be giving out the safest possible advice for our students, full members, their clients and the public at large. The advice we are now giving is to not treat any clients because this is the safest advice possible based on the WHO’s directive on Social Distancing. This says we should keep a 2 meter space between people to prevent infection, also avoid travelling and meeting people unless absolutely necessary. 

Remember that people can carry the virus without showing any symptoms so you just don’t know who is a carrier and who is not. And you don’t know if you yourself could be a carrier and pass it to someone who then passes it on to a more vulnerable person. So we have given out the very safest advice, but this is ‘advice’ and at the moment there is no legal requirement to follow this so you can still make your own decisions.

Insurance in not the main issue here and your insurance may still be valid in the normal way. You could be liable for damages if you infected a client with the virus because you did not follow WHO and UK Government safety guidelines. But this would be most unlikely because it would be very hard to prove that you caused their infection and hard to sue for damages if they knew the risk and still consented to treatment. However, as it is stated on the Balens website " We would like to point out that the matter is very ambiguous at this stage and we would need to see claims examples in order to fully establish how the policy would respond". Considering how serious the health consequences of infection can be we are not reassured by this statement.

We strongly believe this is about our social responsibility to protect the wider community and not whether our insurance is valid. We are putting yours and your clients health before financial considerations.

I hope you share the sentiment of the decision which reflects our ethical beliefs.

See attached document with important business advice

Good luck and stay healthy

Mel Cash

 

Update 19/3/20 2020-03-19

Desr ISRM Member

As a professional association ISRM must look after your safety first therefore we need to be giving out the safest possible advice for our members, their clients and the public at large. The advice we sent out yesterday to not treat any clients was the safest advice possible based on the WHO’s directive on Social Distancing. This says we should keep a 2 meter space between people to prevent infection, as well avoid travelling and meeting people unless absolutely necessary. 

Remember that people can carry the virus without showing any symptoms so you just don’t know who is a carrier and who is not. And you don’t know if you yourself could be a carrier and pass it to someone who then passes it on to a more vulnerable person. So we have given out the very safest advice, but this is ‘advice’ and at the moment there is no legal requirement to follow this so you can still make your own decisions.

Insurance in not the main issue here and your insurance may still be valid in the normal way. You could be liable for damages if you infected a client with the virus because you did not follow WHO and UK Government safety guidelines. But this would be most unlikely because it would be very hard to prove that you caused their infection and hard to sue for damages if they knew the risk and still consented to treatment. However, as it is stated on the Balens website " We would like to point out that the matter is very ambiguous at this stage and we would need to see claims examples in order to fully establish how the policy would respond". Considering how serious the health consequences of infection can be we are not reassured by this statement.

We strongly believe this is about our social responsibility to protect the wider community and not whether our insurance is valid. We are putting yours and your clients health before financial considerations.

I hope you share the sentiment of the decision which reflects our ethical beliefs.

See attached document with important business advice

Good luck and stay healthy

Mel Cash

New Coronavirus update 2020-03-18

Due to the fast changing situation with the Coronavirus outbreak and the implications for society, our client and therapists, coupled with the uncertainty of insurance policies covering ISRM members we have to escalate the advice to our members to discontinue all treatments even of those not in a high risk group.

Although a regrettable situation we feel this is best for our society and the massage community.

I think we can be encouraged by the financial support the government has announced so far. Although they have not yet said how they will help the self-employed we are expecting them to do so quite soon.

We wish you all good luck and good health during this extremely difficult time.

Mel Cash

Coronavirus update 2020-03-17

Dear ISRM member

Please see attached document giving you our latest advice on the Caronavirus situation. We will keep you updated.

Due to the financial difficulties we are all going through we are reducing the ISRM membership fee by 50% to £25 until further notice.

 

Wishing us all good luck and good health

Mel