So, the time has come and the powers that be have spoken. I have been waiting patiently to hear from both RAMP and the MAA regarding my return to work, what I need to consider and what it will look like. I have now had clear guidance from both professional bodies and feel confident that I can begin offering treatment services again.
Whilst this is very exciting for me and I would love to get out to see everyone, this is by no means a ‘return to normal’. There are conditions in place and many considerations that have to be met before I can come out to any appointments. Many of these are around correct biosecurity and adequate risk assessment.
I do have a list as long as my arm of people who are waiting for previous appointments to be rescheduled, those who are due for regular maintenance checks and others who have requested appointments. Whilst I would love to see you all in order, I fear that may not be possible. As it stands, each appointment that I go to whilst we still have lock down restrictions in place will need to be considered on a case by case basis. My main concern is the welfare of your animals and the safety of myself and my clients. The MAA have been clear that treatments may resume to prevent the deterioration of welfare and health. This means that in addition to emergency cases, I can now see cases where the health or welfare of the animal may be impacted if they miss out on their regular treatments.
Biosecurity and social distancing will become a key part of how I work over the coming weeks. I have taken measures to ensure that the chance of me spreading the virus is as low as possible. I will not be visiting multiple yards at a time and I have created a wash station that I can bring with me in my car. This means that I will be able to wash my hands with soap and running water before and after every treatment. We will also need to maintain the 2m distancing rules. For horses, this means that I will need you to tie your horse up for me and then retreat to a safe distance whilst the treatment is taking place. It will also be important for me to attend your yard at a time when there will be no (or very few) other people present. For small animal treatments this will be harder and we will need to discuss options for how I can treat your animals without coming into contact with you – perhaps treatments in the garden? And these will be discussed individually.
TREATMENTS WILL NOT GO AHEAD IF I OR YOU OR ANYONE IN OUR HOUSEHOLDS ARE EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS OR HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19.
With all of these measures in mind, I have created a new appointment form. This form MUST be completed for any treatments that will take place during the lock down and phased return periods. Appointments will then be allocated based on the information in your form. Please be honest when completing the form – if your animal’s treatment could wait another few weeks and that wait will not impact their health or welfare then I feel this would be a safer option for us all and help to reduce the spread of the virus by limiting contact as much as possible. In the first instance I will be forwarding a link to this form to everyone on my waiting list – please wait to hear from me.
Treatment availability will be limited. Both of my children are still off school and neither are within the year groups suggested for the first phase of return. Tim is also working full time. I will need to schedule sessions around their needs and requirements. So new treatment times will be as follows:
Tuesday – Friday (Single animal treatments) 8.30am
Monday – Thursday (1 or 2 animals at same location) 5.30pm
Saturday (Single or Multiple animals at same location) 9am
Due to the paperwork and organisation I’m going to have to do in preparation for treatments, I will be resuming appointments no earlier than Saturday 16th May. I will try to prioritise those that have been waiting since March for sessions, if possible based on all of the conditions mentioned above.
It is likely that I will need to update my protocols and procedures on a regular basis based on information from the government and MAA and I will, of course, keep everyone posted.
I want to thank you all again for all of your patience and support whilst I have not been able to work. I am looking forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible 🙂