Your scanning business and Covid19
There’s no hiding from the fact that continuing to offer a mobile scanning service is becoming increasingly risky – and with children staying at home now, quite possibly more so than before. One regret coming from the Italian experience is the well intentioned decision to close all schools and nurseries without appropriate guidance, effectively sending all the children into the arms of their grandparents. With one of the most elderly populations in the world, Italian grandparents are heavily involved in childcare, and at the time it would have seemed logical for them to look after the children to allow working age adults to continue to work.
Now, the UK government has made the same decision, although hopefully the advice to keep children away from older adults has been made very clear. If you are offering a mobile dog or cat ultrasound scanning service, however, it means that it is now increasingly likely that children will be present in homes – and very interested in what you are doing.
The reason children are such a danger right now is that they’ve been mixing with hundreds of other children in school, and they often show no or only very mild symptoms of the virus – so you would not necessarily even know that they were carrying it. It may be that this risk decreases over the next few weeks if parents are being vigilant and keeping their children from mixing with others, but right now it is a very real threat to you when going into a stranger’s home. Unfortunately, however, even after this period you will have no idea of how seriously people you do not know are adhering to government advice – regardless of whether they have any children or not.
Should you still be offering a scanning service?
Until the government announces financial assistance to the self-employed (expected this week), many mobile scanners will feel that they have no choice but to continue with their work. Even once these measures are announced, if you are not operating through a limited company and paying yourself a regular and taxable salary, you will almost certainly still find yourself unable to claim.
However, as the epidemic intensifies, public opinion is likely to shift in the coming weeks towards stricter adherence to government advice not to socialise or even get within two metres of people outside of the immediate family. This is likely to reduce demand on scanning services, taking the decision out of your hands. Even if demand for your services were to continue, you would need to weigh up whether the money you earn for a pregnancy scan is worth putting yourself, your family, and your other clients at risk.
The AUA cannot tell you what the ‘right thing’ to do is, but as individuals who also work with the NHS (as do many of our members), we can tell you that the risk is genuine and real. There is no conspiracy theory, no media hoax, no exaggeration of the threat. And when it comes to our scanning businesses, this is an unprecedented financial and ethical dilemma for all of us.
Ideas for AUA members
If you are a member of the Animal Ultrasound Association, this could be an excellent time to build your profile. Log into your account, click your name (top right, in a green box) and click ‘My Profile.’ From here, you can upload your scans and write a few words about each one (breed of dog, area you traveled to, stage of pregnancy). That way, once demand picks up again, your business will be best placed to be found in your local area.
If you need help or advice, or have a story to share, please get in touch with us.
April 09, 2020