14 April 2020
Update from Simplyhealth on Covid-19
News about the coronavirus is rapidly changing as more information and evidence is found. Of course, it’s understandable that the situation may cause concern for veterinary employees and businesses, as well as animal owners and keepers who use veterinary services.
It is important that as a veterinary business and as individuals we stay up-to-date so we have provided some useful sources of information below.
Links for veterinary professionals on the latest Coronavirus updates:
Veterinary practices and Covid-19
Please regularly view the RCVS and BVA websites for detailed information. On the 23rd March, new measures were announced by Government in the fight against coronavirus. These require people to stay at home except for limited purposes and state further closures of non-essential businesses on top of those announced to close on the 20th March.
As of the announcement on the 23rd March, veterinary practices are not on the list of premises to close. Therefore, they can stay open but they must comply with the guidance on social distancing and the number of clients seen face to face should be kept to a minimum. Please refer to the RCVS flowchart and the BVA guidance to help determine what cases should be seen. Practices will need to safeguard staff and public health and in a letter to the profession, the RCVS have stated: “As the regulator for veterinary surgeons and registered veterinary nurses in the UK, our priority is the health and safety of those we regulate.” and stated that there is “…a clear acknowledgement that veterinary professionals may need to depart from our usual best practice advice and guidance, in order to safeguard personal and team safety and public health.” Further useful guidance is given on their website.
If it is deemed necessary for a client to visit the practice to provide emergency care practices should think about:
Remote prescribing and POM-V medication
Ordinarily remote prescribing of POM-V medication is not permitted however, given the current situation, the RCVS Council made a decision on the 24th March to temporarily allow remote prescribing of POM-V medication where it is appropriate to do so. Please see RCVS guidance for full details on when you can use remote prescribing. This decision will be reviewed on the 30th June 2020.
Email prescriptions and posting medication
In order to minimise client contact and enable clients to receive medications for their pets it may be necessary to use email prescriptions and post medication. Please see the BSAVA Guide to the Use of Veterinary Medicines for information and guidance, as well as the Post Office guidance.
It is important to communicate with clients to inform them of what to expect when coming to the practice. In particular, they should consider if the visit is absolutely necessary so that animal welfare can be maintained without unnecessary risk to human health. As an example, practices may wish to use the following statements:
Your pet’s welfare is important to all of us but in these unsettling times it is important that we look after all of our health and therefore we need to minimise people entering the practice.
We appreciate that these are unsettling times for all of us and that you are worried about the welfare of your pet. Please be assured we are doing everything that we can to make sure we all stay safe and maintain pet welfare. It may be that we must limit the services that we can safely provide while still providing for pet welfare.
We want to thank you for your co-operation and together we can all help.
Covid–19 and animals
While current evidence suggests an animal source for Covid-19, ongoing transmission is predominantly person to person and there is currently no evidence that pets may be a source of infection for people. Vets should continue to take the usual precautions when handling animals and animal products in line with good biosecurity. Please see the OIE website for further information.
We’re continuing to monitor the situation in the UK and will update our advice and support as things develop.