I’m a doctor. What should I do if I think I may be infected with coronavirus?
The GMC recognises the challenges the doctors may face as the situation continues to develop. This includes concerns about the risks to the health of the doctors when treating patients with coronavirus. Doctors should follow the current public health advice including self-isolating if they know or suspect that they are infected or are at a higher risk of infection.
Finally, all necessary steps should be taken to ensure that doctors have access to protective equipment and minimise the risk of transmission when treating patients. It is imperative that a record is kept of all decisions made and how any safety or health concerns have been handled.
The GMC continues to work with NHS England and UK’s Chief Medical Officers to provide updates and advice to all doctors as the situation develops. Click here for more information.
Although an employer is obliged to conduct consultation “with a view to reaching an agreement”, it is not required to actually agree to any counter proposals made by the employee representatives. Merely to consider them in good faith.
The General Medical Council (GMC) have published guidance online for doctors during this time of uncertainty.
Alongside this, their website displays guidance for temporary registration to approximately 15,000 doctors, who left the register or gave up their licence to practise in the last three years.
These clinicians have been contacted to assist with the growing pandemic, outlining the process they would follow and informing them of their right to opt-out. The Secretary of State for Health can ask the GMC to grant such registration under Section 18a of the Medical Act 1983, in an emergency.
The Act should make it easier for residents to obtain relevant information. It includes an obligation for the Principal Accountable Person to prepare a strategy for promoting the participation of residents, including the information to be provided to them and consultations about relevant decisions. The strategy must be provided to residents, and there will be provision for residents to be able to request information and copies of documents from the Principal Accountable Person. The type of information and the form in which it is to be provided will be set out in secondary legislation in due course, but the explanatory notes anticipate that it will include:
- Full current and historical fire risk assessments•Planned maintenance and repair schedules
- The outcome of building safety inspection checks
- Information on how assets in the building are managed
- Details of preventative measures
- Details of fire protection measures and the fire strategy for the building
- Information on the maintenance of fire safety systems
- Structural assessments
- Planned and historical changes to the building
The current guidance issued by Mr Justice Hayden confirms that remote hearings may be conducted using the following facilities and that this will be the default position until further direction:
- By way of an email exchange between the court and the parties;
- By way of telephone using conference calling facilities;
- By way of the court’s video-link system, if available;
- The use of the Skype for Business App installed on judicial laptops;
- Any other appropriate means of remote communication, for example BT MeetMe, Zoom or FaceTime.
As we all adjust and adapt in line with the Government’s guidance throughout this uncertain time, we must consider how we can revise current processes and implement new ones to maintain effective and compliant ways of working. We have identified several key issues that all housing providers should consider.
Housing providers will continue to receive new disrepair claims. Throughout the disruption caused by coronavirus, landlords will still be expected to respond to these claims and comply with the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Claims whilst doing so. We address the issue of disclosure in particular below.
Letters of claim will continue to be sent by post to your Registered Office, and the deadlines will run from the date of deemed service. Ensure you have systems to enable you to scan correspondence and forward it to the responsible officer who will handle the claim so deadlines are met.
Under the Protocol, the deadline for disclosure is 20 working days from deemed service of a letter of claim (2 working days after it is sent). So, for example, a letter dated 2 March 2020 would be deemed served on 4 March 2020 and disclosure would therefore be due by 1 April 2020. All housing providers must continue to comply with the Protocol and so landlords should begin preparing now.
Failure to meet deadlines often result in the issuing of further applications to court by tenant’s solicitors which in turn will lead to unnecessary costs orders against landlords.
Therefore, all records, particularly relating to customer contact and repair logs, should be held electronically. If required, this will allow for such documentation to be redacted for GDPR purposes remotely and disclosed to the tenant’s solicitor simply and efficiently.
Remember it is possible to request an extension to all Protocol deadlines and it is inevitable in these unusual times, this will need to be utilised, and should not be refused. Request extensions to deadlines at the earliest opportunity to enable an achievable timescale. It would be a difficult lawyer that would not agree to such a request.