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Independents' Day

Face masks to become compulsory in GP practices

Wearing of face masks will become mandatory in GP practices from next Monday, according to a letter sent out by NHS England.

The information is buried within a system letter sent yesterday to commissioners and practices.

It says that 'a surgical face mask' should be worn 'when not in PPE' or in a 'Covid-secure' part of the facility.

It comes as the BMA called for compulsory face masks in GP practices last weekend, following the Government's announcement that they would be mandatory for staff and visitors in hospitals.

But NHS England's letter said that the guidance 'will also apply' to primary care.

It read: 'As announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from the 15 June, the recommendation will be that all staff in hospital wear a surgical face mask when not in PPE or in a part of the facility that is Covid-secure in line with the workplace definition set by the Government.

'The guidance will also apply to other NHS healthcare settings, including primary care, and will be published this week by Public Health England.'

An NHS England spokesperson told Pulse that the recommendations do not come from NHS England, but rather the health secretary, and that any further guidance will be issued by PHE.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'The BMA is clear that the latest rules around face coverings and hospitals must be extended to cover all health and social care settings, including general practice.

'So this recommendation for all staff to wear masks is a step in the right direction and we await the guidance from Public Health England. However, it’s crucial that patients also wear face coverings when attending practices, as they are being told to in hospitals, in order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

'As we have said, there must be a consistent approach that reflects our integrated health service and is not confusing for the public.

'It is also vital that the supplies of medical masks in general practice are guaranteed to support this move and that the public are clear about the type of face covering they need and how to wear it.

'These measures are vital if we are to protect patients, the NHS workforce and the nation’s health.' 

Pulse has approached PHE for comment.

Readers' comments (25)

  • Not enough PPE we wouldnt last the week let alone see patients.More verbal diarrhoea from the working at home in front of a book shelf establishment.

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  • Yep that will stop a virus (any virus come to think ) in it’s steps!

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  • So, when we run out if our pitiful weekly NHSE supply of substandard ‘PPE’ masks by lunchtime Monday, can we close up for the week?

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  • You can't have it both ways.

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  • Stable door. Horse. Bolted.

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  • Unfortunately a sign of increasing anxiety that cases will flare with the ending of lock down even with so many cases still, and the track and trace guidance that could easily shut many a surgery.

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  • Do we now assume that A+ grade evidence of benefit has been found or are we still at a[necdotal] ? Either way can I still have the wooly one with the smiley face on?

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  • Why now? And why not gloves too?

    I guess now we are testing, we can't pretend we're not going to spread it.

    Guidance again based on what PPE is available at the time.

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  • Dear BMA, f@ck off, and when you've done that, f@ck off some more.
    How about treating GPs like professionals and letting GPs do their own risk assessments - rather than colluding with the continual denigration and undermining of GPs?

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  • We are a practice of 28,000 patients and are given the same number of masks as the practice up the road with 2300 patients! We have been buying our own and flagging this for weeks.
    No more.
    This is typical meddling incompetence from the NHS England and pathetically woke from the BMA.
    I reckon we can close up and go on staycation leave from Monday lunchtime and let NHS England sort it out.
    Garden needs some attention....

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