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Mobile acupuncture Hertfordshire

Very early on in my training to be an acupuncturist, I decided I wanted to be a mobile practitioner.


My neighbour works for Disability Rights UK and we have long chats about how accessibility to services is hard for those with disabilities. Steps, parking, driving to name but a few. In someone's home, they have all their needs catered for.


And so becoming a mobile acupuncturist in Hertfordshire was an easy decision. Being mobile means I can offer acupuncture treatment in a person's space. A space where they feel comfortable. Where they might have a carer to help them with the appointment. Where all their accessibility needs are met.


Today's blog post is going to look at what I needed to do to become a mobile acupuncturist in Hertfordshire. Because I would like other acupuncturists to know that this is an option. To provide acupuncture to anyone.


As always if you have any questions then please feel free to send me a message. I always love to hear from you.


Andrea

 

Why I love being a mobile acupuncturist

For all the reasons above, by being mobile I can offer anyone an acupuncture treatment. It is accessible, at least through location to anyone (and please remember I offer a low-cost acupuncture option).


And there have also been some other benefits which I hadn't expected!


I get to see the beautiful Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire countryside

I have grown up in Hertfordshire. Apart from a hiatus for 10 years, I have spent a considerable time both in North and East Hertfordshire and yet I have found some absolute gems whilst driving around to acupuncture appointments. Places I might not have come across.


My current favourites are:

  1. Stratton's Tower in Little Berkhamsted

  2. Northill. I love this whole village

  3. The watercress farm in Whitwell

  4. And Broxbourne district definitely has the best road names including Baas Lane and Cock Lane to name two!



I get to listen to my own music

Another very unexpected win on the mobile front. Having two children (8 years and 5 years) I have spent all those years listening to their songs in the car. From Peppa Pig to Frozen and now on to Sing 2. On repeat.


Being in the car means I can revert to my 90s music taste, plus I get to listen to my favourite podcasts. All interrupted.


Singing in the car is the best.



My dog is my favourite passenger


I have always wanted to be able to bring my dog to work.


My smallest dog is a miniature Daschund. My first child. And he now gets to come everywhere with me. He LOVES a car ride and whilst the weather hasn't been too cold or too hot he has been able to spend the day with me. I love having him with me.


And of course, when it is too hot or too cold, he will not come with me.


 

Things to consider if you want to be a mobile acupuncturist

I can only speak for my own experiences. Please check with your regulatory body, council and insurances for your own personal work setup.


Equipment

Remember you will need to have everything. That means being able to move everything easily including your couch.


I try to limit the amount I take. I have:

  • A couch (which is big and heavy, but I love it). It does have a bag which means I can carry slightly easier. I am lucky that mostly I can park relatively close to patient's homes

  • I have a case on wheels for all my needles/cleaning/other equipment I need. This is the one I have as an example (see below)

  • A rucksack for patient notes/card machine/masks for easy access

I ask patients to provide towels and pillows. Other things to consider:

  • I ask for a ground floor room (if possible)

  • Access to sink for handwashing

  • All pets should be removed from the room



Mobile carry case
























Insurance

Please check with your insurance company on this for your own practice.


I also changed my car cover to include business and personal use. This did affect my premium (but not considerably).


Waste

I applied for a waste carrier license as I carry a sharps bin container and a clinical waste bin with me


Lone worker

I have a contract with Orbis that is an app on my phone. I check in when I arrive at a patient's address and I set a timer. If I do not cancel the alarm it is escalated and they know my location (through my phone).


Councils

Has definitely been the hardest part of my mobile business. Some councils have been ok with offering me a mobile special license; others have not.


In Hertfordshire, for example, there are 10 district councils each with its own licensing laws and associated costs.


Please check with each individual council's licensing team to ensure you know what they are happy with.


Costs

Just because you do not have a clinic space overhead, do not underestimate the costs involved in being mobile.

  • I had to pay for each district council license. This is currently close to £700 in total

  • Mobile means I cannot see patients back to back. Fewer patients = less money

  • The cost of driving e.g.fuel, maintenance, insurance

Be realistic about what those costs are going to be. Mobile does not necessarily mean cheaper.

 

Pros and cons of being mobile

Below are what I consider to be the pros and cons of being a mobile acupuncturist. This might not be the same for everyone.

Pros

Cons (with italics for possible solutions)

Flexibility around childcare

Travel time means I cannot see as many

patients (try and work within specific areas

each day i.e. Letchworth on a Tuesday, Hitchin on a Wednesday)

No overheads. No patients = not still having to pay for a space unnecessarily

Traffic/breakdown (don’t book too many

patients in and always have their details to

hand so that I can let them know of any

problems. I will always ensure my car is

regularly serviced and be a member of a

breakdown service)

You can see people in the comfort of their own home - they are not having to take time out of their day with travel and they are immediately comfortable after I have left

Safety (I carry a lone worker app)


Accessibility for those that might not want to (or can’t) travel

Practising in unknown environments (on

telephone consultation ask about area and

access. Can ensure they know the size of the area I will need and amenities e.g. sink, table for clean field)

Can make some useful observations based on their surroundings and interests - people can put a mask on when in a different environment

The physicality of moving equipment (buy a

trolley and rolling suitcase)

Normalises the practice to everyone else in

their household

Cost - Register in Hertfordshire and

Bedfordshire (will save on other costs such as rent)

Marketing: solely relies on your finding patients

No access to books




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