As the UK governments begin to work towards lifting lockdown restrictions we felt it pertinent to remind members that you should be regularly revising your risk assessments. As measures ease, you may feel you can adjust some of the measures you have implemented during the pandemic, although cleaning, wearing PPE and patients wearing face coverings (unless exempt) are still mandatory.

The two main areas you may wish to think about include:

Waiting rooms

As non-essential retail opens in April you may feel your waiting room is big enough to allow some patients or their relatives to sit in the waiting area. Remember, seats must be 2 meters apart if facing each other, or 1 meter plus if all facing the same way. 

If people other than your patients are in the waiting room/practice you need to use a QR code or keep a list of their details as per COVID-19 Guidelines for businesses. You should work out the square footage of your waiting area and only allow a small number of patients in at one time, so they have 2 meters square of space around them.

Consider ventilation and leave a window open if you can, or regularly open an outside door to allow the air to circulate. If your reception area is exposed and patients are now in the waiting area, then you should fit a screen. The receptionist will also need to wear a face covering if working with others or not behind a screen. Communal areas need to be cleaned regularly at least at lunch time and the start and end of each day.

Time between patients

It has always been down to members' risk assessments as to how much time you leave between patients to thoroughly clean after each patient. You may find you can adjust the time as lockdown eases depending on how you are set up. It is for you to decide, as long as you are following infection control guidance.

The government is giving little guidance in advance of each step out of lockdown but as soon as the College gets specific advice, we will let members know. It is likely social distancing and face coverings will be around for many more months, as will the use of PPE in healthcare settings. 

If you have any queries contact the College's professional officers on