Recognising professional and personal limits, and how to access guidance and support
Should clinicians undertake work when inadequate PPE is available?
- Employers have a duty to ensure adequate PPE and clinicians should not be expected to treat patients without this
- Clinicians should identify the level of PPE they need
- Clincians are expected to raise concerns with their manager and ask them to take action
- If clinicians feel under pressure to treat without adequate PPE, they should consider reporting under public interest disclosure (freedom to speak up)
- Clinicians can refuse to treat patients if PPE is inadequate, especially if clinicians are at high risk of infection and there is no other way of delivering care
Am I obliged to put myself at risk in order to continue caring for patients?
- Clinicians do have a ‘duty of care’ to registered patients
- But they are not required to sacrifice their own health and/or wellbeing
- There are some situations when it is morally required to accept some risks in order to care for others
- Risk exposure should be proportionate to the good that a clinician can do in that situation
- All clinicians should weigh up their obligations to their current patients, their future patients, themselves and their families
- The risks of caring for Covid-19 patients can be mitigated by the provision of appropriate PPE where there is face to face interaction, or the use of remote consultation methods as a first choice (or where PPE is not available)
- Clinicians are expected to use their own discretion about what risks are acceptable – and this may change on a daily basis, depending on the patients they are seeing, the availability of PPE, as well as their own personal health risk factors
I’m feeling so anxious/stressed/worried- I’m not sure I’m making good decisions – should I carry on?
- Remember that anxiety is a healthy and normal response at times of threat
- Anxiety tells us that there is a threat (Covid-19) which needs to be responded to (social distancing, isolation, handwashing, PPE)
- If symptoms do not subside with time and interfere with daily living or sleep take action and seek help
- Remember that there is plenty of help available