COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Service Update
Obtaining Evidence for Drug and Alcohol Misuse - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: 08/04/2020 - Introduction of new mobile collection service
FTS continue to provide sample collections during the current COVID-19 pandemic
Because the child's safety is paramount; where there is a likely risk substance misuse could impact on child safety, FTS can confirm, they continue to provide their sample collection, testing and reporting service. FTS follow the recognised Best Practice Model for this work, ensuring their Expert Reports address the specific needs of each case.
FTS have successfully introduced a ‘New Mobile Clinic’, collections can be undertaken at any location to address the present difficulties of finding venues for sample collection. This has proved hugely popular and is being expanded every week. Collections available in most areas.
- FTS Forensic Investigation Officers are fully trained and equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) to carry out this procedure safely.
- FTS arrange appointments directly with your client and carry out the full interview for all necessary disclosures on the phone, reducing collection time and avoiding time pressures on the FIO’s and the client.
- This avoids you having to arrange appointments or a venue at this difficult time.
What this means for our customers:
The child's safety is paramount and if substance misuse has the potential to impact on child safety, and it is considered necessary to obtain evidence to guide decisions to keep a child safe, then FTS will continue to offer on-site sample collections as part of their 'Model of Best Practice' to provide reliable evidence for Local Authorities and the Courts.
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Sample Collections: Introduction of Mobile Collections
FTS are not suspending sample collections during the current COVID-19 pandemic. FTS can confirm that they will continue to provide this service following the Best Practice Model, which includes the collection, transport and processing of samples for this work. FTS are monitoring information from the relevant authorities daily and planning appropriately to minimise disruption during these very difficult times.
Public Health England guidance
FTS are rigorously following the guidance issued by government and Public Health England, in particular sections 5.2 to 5.4 of document: Covid-19 Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings. Version 1. This includes the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) when operating within 1 meter of a patient/client.
Our Forensic Investigating Officers who carry out the sample collections are employed by FTS, have considerable experience working in very challenging environments and are fully trained and equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to carry out this procedure safely.
Appointments for the Clients:
It is important to keep the appointment time to a minimum, therefore FTS recommend that where possible they arrange sample collections with your client. This enables the essential, but lengthy interview with the client to be carried out on the phone, in advance of the sample collection appointment without time pressures on the Collection Officer and the client.
A full disclosure from the client regards all potential influencing factors is crucial, to enable the expert to form an opinion on what the results from the testing are more likely than not to represent, i.e. to achieve the necessary standard of proof for Family Proceedings. Results of hair and nail analysis cannot be interpreted in isolation of this information.
In addition, where required and appropriate, FTS can provide a taxi as part of the service to collect and take the client to and from the appointment at your offices or other suitable venue that FTS will arrange.