Guidance for when patients decline to wear masks
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’