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Covid-19 Primary Care Resources


Patient adherence to mask wearing



Guidance for when patients decline to wear masks

This information is sourced from the Cabinet Office,  NHSE, and the MDU:

The Cabinet Office advises the public that face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries

A NHSE webinar, held on 28th January 2021, has reiterated previous guidance on wearing masks in a practice setting. Patients should not be refused care should they not be able to wear a mask or refuse to wear a mask. Instead, appropriate steps should be taken.

The NHS Standard operating procedure (SOP) for general practice in the context of coronavirus suggests that if patients do not follow the guidance to wear a mask that practices make a risk assessment and consider the following options:

  • Offering the patient a mask, if the patient is willing to wear one
  • Booking the patient into a quieter appointment slot, or in a separated area
  • Providing care via a remote appointment

The MDU advises ‘There is currently no power to enforce mask wearing by patients and you should be cautious about declining to provide necessary care to a patient on the basis of their decision not to wear a mask’

See also:

Guidance on personal risk for doctors during the Covid pandemic

PPE for primary care

PPE for the public

Face covering exemptions