What are the current Government Guidelines for close contact services?
England click here
Scotland click here
Wales click here
Northern Ireland click here
What are Guild Membership Insurance guidelines for sensitivity patch testing requirements?
It is an insurance requirement that a sensitivity patch test is carried out before certain treatments can be performed. Any client that has a reaction to the patch test must not be allowed to have the full treatment. Once a client has had a successful patch test, a repeat patch test is required if a) more than six months has elapsed before the client last had a patch test or a treatment, b) the manufacturer of the products you are using stipulates that a patch test are required more frequently than every six months, c) Your client has had the COVID-19 infection, d) your client has had a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
What are the patch testing insurance requirements specific to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Salons in the UK have been closed for several months during the covid-19 lockdown, so many of your clients will require patch tests because more than six months have elapsed since the last time they had the treatment or the last patch test.
A patch test should also be done if a client advises you of a change in their medical condition. So if a client has had a severe illness, including Covid-19 infection, they should be patch tested before a treatment can be given.
If your client has had a COVID-19 vaccine or booster this is classed as a medical change, and would require a patch test.
A patch test after the second vaccination is not required unless the supplier of the product states otherwise.
If you are in any doubt, do a patch test before offering the treatment.
What is the timeframe for patch testing and doing the treatment?
Insurance claims will not be accepted unless a sensitivity patch test has been undertaken at least 24 hours prior to treatment where:
i. A new client is to be treated; and
ii. The manufacturer or supplier explicitly states that a sensitivity patch test is required;
iii. A new manufacturer or supplier’s product is to be used, even where the client had a previous sensitivity patch test for the same treatment and no positive reaction occurred; and
iv. Any equipment used to administer such treatment has been serviced or replaced since the client’s last treatment.
The results of sensitivity patch tests are to be recorded in writing on the client’s records and must be retained for a minimum of seven years.
How long after having the COVID-19 vaccine or booster, can a client have a patch test?
So long as your client is not suffering from any side effects from the vaccine or booster then a patch test can be given.
What treatments require a patch test?
Laser or IPL treatment;
Hair, eyebrow or eyelash tinting or colouring treatment;
Hair, eyebrow or eyelash perming;
Application of false eyelashes;
Intimate henna or bikini topiary treatment; or
Any treatment where the manufacturer or supplier explicitly states that a sensitivity patch test is required,
Can I provide postal patch testing?
Postal patch testing can be carried out providing you adhere to the Guild’s Insurance Guidelines:
The insured must ensure the following –
1. That a post patch test is not against manufacturer’s advice and confirmation has been obtained from the manufacture to this effect
2. That they are checking the patch test area prior to the treatment themselves and fully recording the results/observations in the client notes
3. That they obtain a signed disclaimer/consent form from the client at the time of treatment which states the client followed all instructions including timeframe and understands the consequences of not having performed the test correctly. If this is not possible then I would suggest they obtain this confirmation verbally and record it in the client’s notes.
4. The supplier of the product must supply you with a professional patch testing kit to post to your clients, it cannot be a patch test kit that you have produced yourself.
Can I do treatments on a client that has had COVID-19?
If a client indicates they have had COVID-19 but are now well and no longer need to self-isolate you can offer a treatment, providing there are no other contra-indications present at the time of the treatment. If the client indicates they are suffering any long-term health issues from having COVID-19 or are taking any prescribed medication for ongoing COVID-19 symptoms, you must refer them to their GP for written consent for the treatment to go ahead. You will need to store the letter of consent from the GP alongside the client record card.
Can I do a treatment on a client that has had the COVID vaccine or COVID Booster?
It would not be advisable for a client suffering with side effects from their vaccine, to have any treatment until they are feeling well again. click here You must also ensure that there are no other contra-indications present at the time of treatment.
Is it compulsory for my clients to wear a face covering when they visit my salon or holistic centre?
In England face covering are no longer required by law. However, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. Please refer to each individual Goverment Guidance links in question 1 for further details.
Do I still have to wear PPE?
Please refer to your Government Guidelines in question 1 for details on PPE requirements.
How do I ensure I am following the correct salon and personal hygiene?
If you have completed the Guild's COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control course, you are abe to read through the course modules again, which covers hygiene, and view the course downloads. If you would like to complete the Guild's COVID-19 course please click here
Can I offer treatments to a pregnant client?
Full Guild Membership with Insurance covers you to provide treatments on pregnant clients, provided you adhere to the following:
1. You must follow the manufacturers and your training guidelines for use of the products or pieces of equipment and check that they are suitable and safe to use on pregnant clients.
2. You need to establish if it is safe to do any treatment on the pregnant client during the client consultation. If the pregnant client advises you that they have a history of difficult pregnancies or miscarriage, you must always refer them to their GP or Midwife, for written consent for the treatment to go ahead.
3. If you have any doubt whether it is safe to offer a pregnant client a treatment, you must ask them to obtain a letter of consent from their GP or Midwife, stating that the treatment can go ahead. Providing that you have made all the relevant checks and there are no other contra-indications present at the time of treatment you can proceed with the treatment.
If your client has received a letter from the NHS or their GP saying they are clincially extremely vulnerable, you must not offer them any treatment unless you have obtained their GP's written consent for the treatment to go ahead. click here
Can I treat a client who is in the extremely vulnerable group and was shielding?
People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19) are no longer advised to stay at home (shield). If the client advises you that they are clinically, extremely vulnerable, as well as carrying out the normal consultation with your client, you will need to carry out a risk assessment with the client to establish if it is safe to perform the treatment based on their current medical history. You must determine if the client has any medical conditions that would contra-indicate them from having a particular treatment. If you have any doubt if it is safe the perform the treatment, then you must ask the client to obtain written consent from their medical practitioner. The letter of consent must be stored alongside the client record card. The client must be advised what risks that they may incur by visiting the salon, for example, the therapist may not be able to socially distance themself from the client for the duration of the treatment. You must ensure that the client's record card is fully updated with all of this information and you must ask the client to sign the client record card to confirm that they have given their informed, consent for the treatment to go ahead. For more information, see the NHS website click here
We recommend that you keep treatment times to a minimum, especially for those clients who are clinically, extremely vulnerable categories. Please note that If you do not feel comfortable treating clients who are clinically extremely vulnerable at this time, that is of course your choice, and you shouldn’t feel pressured into giving a treatment.
Does my client have to wear a face mask for a back massage?
Clients can removed their mask if they are lying face down, and wearing a mask would restrict their breathing. You will need to include on your treatment risk assessment, what you will put in place for infection control. For example, if there is a breathing hole, then this must be disinfected after treatment. Clients need to reapply their mask when they turn back over.
Do I have to wear gloves for every treatment?
No. Some treatments such as massage, facials etc require skin to skin contact between the therapist and the client. It is essential to maintain good hand hygiene when doing these treatments and avoid touching the face. For other treatments where it is not crucial to the treatment, you should avoid skin to skin contact by wearing disposable gloves.
Are there any restrictions regarding the length of time a treatment can take?
The Government Guidelines advise to review working practices to minimise the duration of contact with the client. Where extended treatment are undertaken, consider how the lengh of the appointment could be minimised.
How can mobile therapists ensure they can operate in a COVID-19 secure way?
When working on a mobile basis, the environment that you are working in is not in your control. Before accepting an appointment, you should pre-screen the client to check they have no symptoms of COVID-19. When arranging the appointment, you will need to establish:
1. who will be at the house other than the client
2. where will the treatment take place,
3. what facilities will be available for hand washing and toilets,
4. how will these treatments or services be carried out and what equipment is required,
5. when the appointment is scheduled for and how long it will take.
When you arrive at the appointment you will need to carry out a risk assessment to decide if you can provide the treatment or service safely.
Please see question above on treating extremely clinically vulnerable clients.
How does the NHS Test and Trace process work?
The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. This means that, thanks to your efforts, we will be able to go as far as it is safe to go in easing lockdown measures. The details are on the Government website here.
In England from 24 September, you must also register for an official NHS QR code and display this on your premises, so that clients and visitors can scan this, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This includes mobile therapists. Your clients are not obliged to use the NHS QR code. If they don’t use the code, you will need to continue to log client details for NHS test and trace as you have already been doing.
To register for NHS QR Code click here.
For more information on the NHS QR codes click here
What client information do I need to collect for the NHS Test and Trace process?
You should collect your client’s:
Contact phone number
Date and time of appointment
Which member of staff did the treatment
No additional data should be collected for this purpose.
What can I do if a client does not wish to share their details?
Although this is voluntary, please encourage customers and visitors to share their details in order to support NHS Test and Trace and advise them that this information will only be used where necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If a customer or visitor informs you that they do not want their details shared for the purposes of NHS Test and Trace, they can choose to opt out, and if they do so you should not share their information used for booking purposes with NHS Test and Trace. The accuracy of the information provided will be the responsibility of the individual who provides it. You do not have to verify an individual’s identity for NHS Test and Trace purposes. For full details see here.
Would I be insured as a Full Guild Member to return to work before the Government has confirmed it safe to do so?
The Guild insurance policy covers you for negligence arising in the course of treatments you provide. However you must follow the latest Public Health England and Government guidelines. The policy does not cover any claim or loss directly or indirectly due to any act, breach or omission the member deliberately or recklessly commits, condones or ignores.
Can I treat a client that has recently returned from abroad?
You will need to check the Government’s website, as to whether your client has returned from a country where they need to self-isolate on their return. Please open this link for more information. click here
Health and Care workers returning to England from high risk countries also have to self-isolate for 14 days. Children also need to self-isolate for the required amount of time on their return.
Where do you publish the latest updates for Coronavirus and insurance cover.
We are updating these FAQs regularly to reflect the questions we are being asked. For general information and advice for Guild Members click here
For Government Guidelines working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) Close Contact Services (includes links to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland guidelines) click here