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.
NHSE: Protecting ourselves and our patients during the Covid-19 pandemic
NHSE Webinar on Infection Control and PPE in relation to general practice 16th April 2020
NHSE Advice & Guidance on Personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental decontamination, clinical waste and aerosol generating procedures
Respirator Seal Check Guidance
Click here for the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) guidance on how to perform a particulate respirator seal check.
Guidance on escalation of PPE stock orders in Primary Care
The CCG has produced guidance for care providers to escalate requests for PPE
Urgent Requirements for PPE
NHSE Guidance: Accessing Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
NHSE has set up a dedicated webpage about how health and social care services can access personal protective equipment (PPE). This information is aimed at providing clear advice to healthcare providers about the arrangements for ordering and receiving essential items of PPE.
A new website national website will be set up for registering PPE requirements. In the meantime continue to follow the local protocol for ordering PPE.