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Patients should still wear face masks in GP practices, says NHS England

face masks in GP practices

Patients and staff should continue to wear face masks in GP practices, NHS England has said.

Face masks should still be worn in GP practices as part of infection control guidance, following yesterday’s announcement by the Government that they would no longer be mandatory in public places.

In a bulletin, NHS England confirmed that the UK Health Security Agency’s infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance remains in place for staff and patients in general practice to ensure everyone is protected.

‘Please continue to encourage patients to wear a face covering to keep staff and other patients safe,’ the weekly roundup from NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said.

The guidance was put in place to ensure ongoing service provision through this Winter amidst the ongoing pandemic.

It recommends ‘universal use of face masks for staff and face masks/coverings for all patients/visitors to remain as an IPC measure within health and care settings over the winter period. This is likely to be until at least March/April 2022.’

England’s Plan B measures, including mandatory face coverings in public places will end from the 26 January, the Government announced this week.

It comes as NHS England said GPs and practice staff should not routinely use FFP2 respirators because surgical face masks give ‘very good protection’.

GPs were told in an NHS England webinar that they should only wear FFP2s if they have been risk assessed as needing a higher-grade FFP3 but this is unavailable.

This is in contrast to BMA advice issued last month, which advised GPs to wear FFP2 face masks ‘as default’ when consulting patients face to face to protect against the highly-infectious Omicron Covid variant.

The BMA has also been critical of the Government’s announcement ending Plan B restrictions because it risked ‘a false sense of security’ when the NHS was ‘still under crippling pressure’.

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Patrufini Duffy 21 January, 2022 11:09 am

Absolutely ground breaking. Mind blowing.
I hope more illegible posters are sent out and we can all convince ourselves of this upcoming enforced amnesia of an ultimate trauma. Like Grenfell, like Iraq, like slavery, racism and inequality, political corruption, like offshore accounts and a dissappearing Hancock and lies and contracts and the Covid pandemic and dead front line workers. Brush this one under the carpet, and forget that which they have no heart and compassion for, human life and the carer.