At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, temporary arrangements for attendance at SMP appointments were put in place on foot of Public Health Agency (PHA) and governmental advice, risk assessments and direction from qualified medical practitioners. These arrangements were implemented in order to protect the physical and mental health, safety and welfare of attendees at Waterside Tower to include (but not limited to) applicants, staff and medical practitioners.
The Board gave an express undertaking to review these arrangements at appropriate intervals and as PHA and governmental guidance evolved throughout the life of the Covid-19 pandemic. Further to updated guidance, from Monday 3 August 2020, applicants will be permitted to be accompanied by one relative/friend only during their medical assessment at Waterside Tower.
Each attendee will be provided with a facemask on arrival at Waterside Tower and attendees will also be directed in terms of safe social distancing once inside the building and, specifically, inside the medical assessment room. As Waterside Tower remains closed to the public all attendees will be contacted by Board Officials within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment to undergo a Covid-19 triage questionnaire.
All applicants will receive written notification of appointment arrangements in advance of attendance. Key points are included below:
- A triage questionnaire will be conducted by NIPB staff 24 hrs before the appointment date. (Details of the questions which will be asked are included below). If not already provided, contact details should be provided to NIPB in order that Board staff may conduct the triage call on the day preceding the appointment.
- Appointments will automatically be cancelled if the triage questionnaire is not completed by all attendees 24 hours in advance.
- Attendees should present at Waterside Tower as close to appointment times as possible to avoid unnecessary wait times ahead of the appointment.
- The Board’s offices remain closed to the public and special dispensation has been agreed only in relation to applicants to the Injury on Duty and Ill Health Retirement schemes. The SMP reception has been removed and the attendees will be greeted in person by their doctor in the Board’s reception. This limits face to face interaction with Board staff and ensures only minimal contact for the attendees and doctor.
- If an attendee is unhappy or concerned about attendance under the aforementioned circumstances, they retain the option to defer their appointment.
Do you have, or have you had a new persistent cough in the last 7 days?
Do you have or have you had a high temperature in the last 7 days?
Do you have or have you had a loss or change in your sense of smell (anosmia) or taste?
Has someone in your household had a new persistent cough and/or a high temperature and/or loss or change in smell or taste in the last 14 days
The Board will continue to consider any further updates as necessary and in line with PHA and governmental guidance. Any queries or questions regarding the above should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org