Free PPE for Primary Care
Practices should no longer be paying for PPE. Practices can register and place orders for free PPE via the PPE portal, which can be delivered within 48 hours, to ensure regular supplies of PPE. More information is available on the DHSC PPE portal guidance page and the portal customer service team can be reached.
Face coverings in general practice (England)
Following the Government’s announcement that face coverings will be mandatory for people visiting shops in England as from today, 24 July, the BMA has been calling for the policy to be extended for all places where social distancing cannot be maintained, including GP practices. Public Health England has now published New recommendations for infection control in primary and community health care providers, which states that:
- Practices should ensure that measures are in place so that all settings are, where practicable, COVID-secure, using social distancing, optimal hand hygiene, frequent surface decontamination, ventilation, and other measures where appropriate
- Where a setting cannot be delivered as COVID-19 secure, a local assessment may conclude that primary care staff, when not otherwise required to use personal protective equipment, should wear a face mask, to prevent the spread of infection from the wearer
- Where a COVID-19 secure environment cannot be maintained, patients and members of the public entering primary care premises should be advised to use face coverings in line with government advice
This guidance is in addition to existing national COVID-19 IPC guidance, which advises on appropriate PPE usage in patient facing clinical settings and other measures to reduce transmission risk.
Letter for exemptions
The guidance on Reducing COVID-19 transmission and PPE now includes updated advice on face coverings, which confirms that practices do not have to provide letters of support for those who fall under the list of exemptions, or to those who do not. Individuals should self declare if they believe they should be exempt from wearing a face covering. They should not be directed to their GP to ask for evidence to support this.
Personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental decontamination, clinical waste and aerosol generating procedures.
World Health Organisation's (WHO's) guidance on how to perform a particulate respirator seal check.