Seeing a doctor or going to hospital? You still need your mask

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(Last Updated On: July 16, 2021)

Patients, staff and visitors reminded that face coverings are still required in health settings, even after Monday (19 July).

The NHS in Devon is reminding people today that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday.

However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors.

That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.

Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, masks and other personal protection equipment.

The NHS will continue to support staff in ensuring that the guidance is followed in all healthcare settings.

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.

“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.

“As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.

“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”

Practice Nurse, Bryony Boyce from Corner Place Surgery in Paignton said. “We have a duty of care to protect our vulnerable patients and staff, and the safest way to do this is to continue to social distance, and wear face coverings in healthcare settings. For this reason, we intend to keep the current guidance in place after restrictions lift on the 19th July. Anyone entering our services will be required to wear a face covering, unless exempt, and social distance, where possible.”

Devon’s care home providers also plan to retain measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
Care home providers say their residents are extremely vulnerable. Visits from family and friends are important but it is vital that they protect residents from Covid-19 and other infectious illnesses that are currently circulating in the community.

Those measures are likely to include the requirement for visitors to wear face coverings unless exempt, to socially distance, to wear Personal Protective Equipment if needed, to follow hand hygiene guidance, and to check-in for Test and Trace purposes.

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