The BMA has called for face masks to become compulsory in GP practices, after the Government announced they will be mandatory in hospitals.
BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said there needs to be ‘consistency’ around face coverings, and this includes compulsory use in healthcare settings other than hospitals, including primary care.
The Government announced on 5 June that from 15 June, face masks will have to be used be everyone working in all areas of the hospital, as well as by all visitors.
This followed evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that found face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
This morning, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘The newly announced face-covering measures in hospitals must also be extended to cover GP surgeries and other health, community and social care settings.
‘As this virus knows no boundaries, it is important that there is consistency around face coverings that applies throughout healthcare settings, reflective of the integrated health care system we have.’
NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, said its members were not consulted before the measure was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock.
Dr Nagpaul said: ‘It is extremely concerning to hear that there has been no consultation with hospital trusts on how this will work in practice for them, or with GPs about any future plans. If we are to have confidence in the Government’s ability to deliver on this, they must be forthcoming immediately on the details of how this will work.
‘Whilst many GP practices have taken major steps to reduce face-to-face consultations, encouraging patients to wear a face-covering when attending a practice will help further protect staff and patients.’
The death toll from Covid-19 passed 40,000 this week – double the number estimated by government advisors at the start of the pandemic.