Hospitals defy NHS chiefs by telling patients to keep wearing face masks

The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust issued a notice to patients and staff, which said: “We ask patients, visitors, staff and anyone working at any of our hospital or community sites to continue to do so during their stay Wearing masks, handkerchiefs and social distancing our buildings despite the lifting of national restrictions.

“This is to keep vulnerable people as safe as possible.”

A similar call came from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which issued a statement saying: “All visitors to wards are required to wear a mask to protect our patients and staff from the spread of Covid-19 and other infections.”

The Croydon Health Services NHS Trust is also advising people to continue wearing masks.

However, Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Trust in Surrey has taken a different approach.

A statement said: “Following an update to national guidance, visitors and those accompanying patients to outpatient appointments or to the emergency department are no longer required to wear a face mask. You can wear a face covering if you personally prefer.”

The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “In line with national guidance, the obligation to wear masks in healthcare will end in our hospitals from Tuesday 7 June.

“There are some exceptions, including oncology and hematology inpatient/outpatient areas, Covid-19 cohort areas and all wards with Covid outbreaks.”

Wear masks “if tolerated”

The national guidance said patients with respiratory symptoms such as a cough should continue to wear face masks or covers “if tolerated”.

People who have been hospitalized with or suspected of having Covid-19 should also be fitted with a face mask when admitted to a ward or common area “if this can be tolerated and it is considered by the patient.” is deemed safe”. , it added.

Covid-19 patients in single rooms usually do not have to wear a mask.

Hospital patients who do not have Covid will not be required to wear a face mask unless it is their “personal preference,” the letter adds.

However, you may be asked to do so in some high-risk areas such as cancer wards, blood disease treatment services, or aged care wards.

Regarding health and care workers, the use of masks in high-risk areas is still recommended, but the rules should be “guided by a local assessment”.

Employees wear masks as part of PPE

Employees who may come into contact with someone with Covid-19 should also wear masks as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE). This could include Covid wards, A&E departments and GP surgeries.

Wearing a universal mask by staff should be considered if there is a local outbreak of cases, the guidance added.

Employees are no longer required to wear masks in non-clinical areas such as staff rooms and offices.

The letter adds that any infection control measures beyond those set out in national guidance are “at local discretion”.

Rules for Visitors

It also suggests that most rules for visitors should fall back to pre-pandemic guidelines.

Visitors may be asked to wear face masks in high-risk areas, but are not routinely asked to wear masks when accompanying patients to other areas of hospitals, “although they may be encouraged to do so following a local risk assessment,” the letter added .

The letter, written by Prof Sir Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, and Duncan Burton, the deputy chief nursing officer for England, said the infection control measures are limiting hospital capacity and slowing the flow of patients.

However, it suggested that it is up to hospitals to make their own decisions about whether to enforce regulations that go beyond national guidance.

“We understand there may be a transition period as providers make changes to their operating procedures, particularly given local differences in Covid-19 infection rates,” the letter said. Hospitals defy NHS chiefs by telling patients to keep wearing face masks

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