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GPs in Scotland to access FFP3 face masks

GPs in Scotland to access FFP3 face masks

Health and social care staff in Scotland, including GPs, can now access FFP3 face masks based on risk assessment and personal preference.

The Scottish government has issued new guidance to NHS boards and registered care home providers outlining the process line managers and staff should follow when requesting access to FFP3 (respirator) masks in place of Type IIR (surgical masks).

The updated guidance means staff in Scotland can request a risk assessment from their line manager if they feel they need to have access to an FFP3 mask to ensure their personal safety.

FFP3 masks will continue to be accessible to staff undertaking an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) in a respiratory pathway and in a non-respiratory pathway where a member of staff has concerns about potential Covid-19 exposure, as before.

Throughout the pandemic IPC guidance has recommended fluid-resistant surgical masks to be worn during GP consultations, however this was updated in January to recommend FFP3 masks when treating patients with a ‘suspected or confirmed’ Covid infection.

In England, CCGs now provide fit testing for GPs and practice staff who have been risk-assessed as needing FFP3 masks.

Current infection prevention and control (IPC) UK Government guidance recommends FFP3 masks when caring for patients with suspected and confirmed seasonal respiratory viruses including Covid-19 when carrying out AGPs.

The guidance is likely to continue recommending universal masking in health and care settings by all staff, patients and visitors until at least May 2022.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title Nursing in Practice.


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