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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Good evening,

I hope that you & your family are continuing to keep safe & well.

The past few months have been very difficult for everyone & so many of our loved ones have ‘been taken’ from this life prematurely.

Thankfully, signs are increasing that (what has been called) “the first wave” of the ‘Covid-19 Pandemic’ is now abating in Northern Ireland.

We will be forever grateful to ALL of the ‘FABULOUS front line staff’ whose TIRELESS work has brought us to where we are today.

It has been ‘a very hard won’ battle!

As a result of this improving situation, it is expected that some of the existing restrictions “will be lifted” in the near term (1-2 weeks).

This reduction of restrictions should then allow ‘the Practice’ to reopen on a more normal (full time) basis.

Planning for reopening, (as you may already understand from the ‘Practice Website’ at www.foothealthmatters.com).

Plans to reopen are very well advanced & the following protective measures have now been fully put in place so that I can reopen SAFELY.

1/   ALL of the VERY NECESSARY PPE stock required for patients & myself (had been purchased 5-6 weeks ago) has now been fully delivered.

2/   Protective ‘Clear Acrylic Screening’ has been put in place between the patient & myself & this is for everyone’s own protection.

3/   A strong extractive ventilation system has been installed & is now fully operational on either side of the ‘large Acrylic screen’.

 When permission is given to ‘fully reopen’ the following practice procedure changes will be in effect (these changes are already fully effective for any urgent ‘Infection or Ulceration treatments currently being provided).

1/  The scheduling of consecutive appointments will change with the introduction of a longer interval between each appointment (this will allow for the necessary enhanced cleaning procedures & will also avoid any patients meeting in the entrance hallway.

2/  The waiting room & toilet areas will remain closed (until further notice).

3/  Access into the practice will be restricted to ENSURE that the maximum number of patients on the premises at any one point of time is one.

4/  On immediate arrival, ALL presenting patients will be;

  • asked to confirm that they are “COVID-19 signs & symptoms free” & that NONE of their close contacts or family presently show any signs/symptoms of COVID-19.
  • asked to put on a ‘practice provided’ face mask & then proceed to put on the ‘practice provided’ protective gloves. (If patients present with their own personal face mask &/or gloves they will be asked to put on the practice provided face mask & gloves simply to ensure that all face masks & gloves are as sterile as possible).

5/  No ‘Domicile’ treatment visits can be provided (until further notice).

6/  The ‘Online appointment booking system’ should be used as the preferential method of booking an appointment (all telephone calls will go to voicemail & replied to at the earliest possible). If you or any of your close contacts have any signs/symptoms of COVID-19  YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT BY ANY METHOD  (to do so would be extremely irresponsible & dangerous).

7/  Practice fees settlement, the preferred method of fee settlement will be by ‘Debit’ or ‘Credit’ card payment (NO additional charges will or ever have been applied when this method of fee settlement is used) other payment methods (Cash or cheque) should be avoided where at all possible.

8/  The provision of No fee appointments (that I have provided to support our local community) will continue as normal throughout the remainder of the enforced period of closure for anyone who has a ‘Bacterial infection’ or a foot ‘Ulceration’.

If you have any questions or queries of any kind at all, please, just simply contact me via a reply to this email.

Finally, I would like to say a very ‘BIG Thank You!’ to everyone for their trust in me and also for the many good wishes that I have received during this period of extraordinary closure

My very best regards to everyone,

Malachy

Podiatrist

Foot Health Matters

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Wednesday 20th May 2020

Covid -19  Practice Closure (information update)

 

On Wednesday 25th March 2020 the decision was taken to postpone all clinical appointments in ‘the practice’ going forwards.

At that time, the very heightened concerns regarding the ‘Community Transmission of the Novel Coronavirus’ (Covid-19) had led to the introduction of the UK Government’s ‘Emergency Public Health Legislation’.

That emergency legislation was accompanied by advice from the ‘Northern Ireland Public Health Agency’ on the immediate “need for social distancing”.                                                     

The decision to postpone all clinical appointments was taken to comply with the introduction of that legislation & to protect all patients, (parents & guardians) presenting for treatment from posible cross-transmission of ‘Covid-19’.

As any typical profession would be expected to do, countless Podiatrists from across Northern Ireland, Great Britain & the Republic of Ireland have been ‘consulting widely across these islands’ (via multiple internet based ‘Conference calls’ & ‘Webinar’ sessions).

This extremely important regional consulting has taken place (over the past 3 to 4 weeks) & this will continue as necessary in order to map a safe way forwards’ for everyone!

The primary aim (of this very broad level of consulting) is to keep everyone safe & well (both before & after permission is given for the return to full practice).

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As the sole proprietor of ‘Foot Health Matters (Ltd) I have independently planned to be in readiness for or any possible (near term) easement of the ‘current distancing regulations’. Therefore prudent plans are already very well placed for the following protective measures to be in place & be hopefully completed by Wednesday 6th May 2020.

1/  The purchasing & delivery of an adequate supply of PPE (personal protective equipment) & a safe means of its proper disposal (100% completed as of Wednesday 29th April 2020).

2/  The installation of protective & adjustable (clear ‘Acrylic’) screening (between patient & professional) within the immediate clinical treatment area (95% completed as of Wednesday 29th April 2020).

3/  The extremely important installation of a strong ‘Extractive Ventilation’ system (95% completed as of Wednesday 29th April 2020).

The strong extractive ventilation system (now is nearing to its complete installation) will operate simultaneously (from above) on each side of the ‘bespoke Acrylic screen’.

Whilst very many patients will be familiar with the recent introduction of clear (Acrylic) protective screens in other commercial facilities, some might immediately question the benefits of ‘strong extractive ventilation’.

The strong extraction ventilation system will ‘continually & rapidly refresh the air space’ within the immediate clinical area & therefore greatly further reduce possible (person to person) cross transmission.

To further explain the immediate benefits of strong ‘Extract Ventiilation’ (I will use the simple analogy of the repeated slicing of ‘Onion vegetables’).

It is not well known that Onions have a high content of a chemical called ‘Sulphur’ in their general makeup.

When slicing onions, (after a little time) an individual usually experiences the arrival of tears into their eyes.

The commencement of tear activity (in this instance) is caused by a chemical called ‘Sulphenic Acid’ & after the Sulphenic acid has got into the eyes, tears are produced as an early reactive way of diluting the really tiny droplets of acid.   

There are three typical & easy entry points for the ‘Covid-19 Virus’ to get inside the human body.

These three typical & easy methods are via the mouth, the nose & the eyes.

Most people experience a marked increase in tears whilst cutting onions but yet they had commonly seen nothing at all moving towards or into their eyes at any given point of time.

This is simply because the moist & acidic particles are far too small to be either visible or palpable.

Covid -19 ‘cross community transmission’ can occur in a very similar way & it is for this very simple reason that strong extractive ventilation (exiting airflow out & away from the clinic setting) is extremely important.

Strong extraction ventilation is continually clearing the immediate air space on either side of the Acrylic Screen (in the immediate clinical area).

Other forthcoming changes within the practice (until further notice) will include;

1/ The need for adequate intervals between consecutive appointments & this will prevent more than one patient being present inside the practice premises at any given point of time.

2/ The waiting area will remain closed (again until further notice).

3/ The cessation (again until further notice) of all domicile type treatments beyond the practice premises (at 26 Finaghy Road South).  

Continuing support for ‘existing patients’ (& prospective patients)

As we all await the easement of the current Government restrictions, I will continue to support our community & respond to any questions or concerns during this period of ‘practice closure’.

Unfortunately, ONLY infection & ulceration based treatments can be provided (at this time) until the ‘Government imposed’ restrictions are relaxed. When urgent treatment is deemed necessary an appointment will typically be arranged within a few hours (of that same day).

If you do need to present for emergency treatment, ‘PPE’ will be supplied for you as you present at the front entrance of ‘the practice’. At that point you will be advised as to how best to use the PPE (the putting of it on & its safe removal safe removal)   

Please note ‘NO Professional Fee’ will be applicable for any advice or ‘Emergency treatment provided’ until ‘the practice’ reopens ”into what will undoubtedly will become “the new normal” for Podiatry services !

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All questions, queries (& photos of issues please!) should be forwarded to myself via any of the following methods). 
1/  Emails to  info@foothealthmatters.com
2/  What’s App & SMS text messages to Tel: 07990 680086
Please avoid (where possible) direct telephone calls to the practice at Tel: 028 90 611619 or the out of hours Tel. 07990 680086
I would expect to respond to all Qu’s within 4-5 hours & will keep you posted with any progress updates as they occur.
Finally, may I gratefully thank all patients (parents, guardians & prospective patients) for their understanding as this is a difficult time for everyone.

Malachy O’Mullan  D.Pod.M. COP. 
(Podiatrist)

Please be cautious, stay safe & keep well !
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