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 19 July.
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, mask and other personal protection equipment.
The NHS will continue to support staff in ensuring that the guidance is followed in all healthcare settings.
The current and continuing IPC guidance is here. (section 4 in particular)
Suggested social media
Patients, visitors and staff must continue to wear face coverings unless they are exempt and follow social distancing measures in healthcare settings.
While COVID restrictions will end in many settings in England from 19 July, everyone visiting hospitals, GP practices, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules, unless they are unable to do so for medical reasons.
This will help to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, especially those who are more vulnerable to infection.
Response to patient query about public health measures
Thank you for your email regarding the public health measures at our service. We would like to reassure you that it is safe to visit [insert service name] and we are doing all we can to ensure we offer the very best care and support, in the most safe and convenient way possible. As you will know, the Prime Minister has confirmed that public restrictions [will/have] [be/en] significantly eased on 19th July. It should be noted that the Government's
'COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021' guidance states "Health and care settings will continue to maintain appropriate infection prevention and control processes as necessary and this will be continually reviewed. Guidance will be updated based on the latest clinical evidence this summer." You can find this online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021-roadmap/covid-19-response-summer-2021#contents
In line with the Government’s announcement, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance will therefore remain in place for all staff and visitors and across all health services, including hospitals, GP practices, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.
Staff, patients and visitors will therefore 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 full guidance can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control
We are working extremely hard to provide safe care to our patients within the guidance.
We hope that this helps clarify why these measures are in place.
Pre-appointment text message
Dear [patient name], your appointment is on [insert date and time]. In line with official public health advice, measures remain in place across all healthcare services to protect patients, visitors and staff. Please ensure you bring a face covering and wear it when you arrive, unless you are exempt.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
• Is this guidance consistent with WHO guidelines?
The content is consistent with the measures outlined in WHO guidance “IPC during healthcare when coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is suspected or confirmed: Interim Guidance, June 2020”.
• Who is the guide for?
Everyone who works in the NHS, and Independent Care Sector no matter what their role, has an important role to play in preventing the spread of infection.
This guidance does not apply to Adult Social Care settings in England given existing guidance for adult social care settings has already been provided and continues to be relevant.
• Which parts of the NHS have to use the IPC guidance?
This guide applies in England*, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The IPC principles in the guide apply to all health care settings including all hospitals, GP practices, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies.
• What can staff do at work to help protect themselves?
The important things at work are: wear a facemask, undertake regular hand hygiene, frequently clean and maintain a clutter free environment, keep a social distance of 2 metres whenever possible. If you need to wear additional PPE, you will be advised where and when, and receive appropriate training.
• What should staff do if a patient or visitor refuses to wear a mask?
The safety of both staff and patients is of paramount importance and face coverings or facemasks should be worn by patients/visitors, in-line with government guidance. We expect that all patients/visitors, unless they are exempt, will follow these recommendations.
However, some people cannot tolerate wearing a facemask or covering and other measures such as taking all reasonable steps to identify practical working solutions with the least risk to all involved can ensure that care is still delivered safely. Care should not be denied to those unable to wear a face mask or covering.
• What is the guidance for vaccination settings?
The guidance states that:
In some clinical outpatient settings, such as vaccination/injection
clinics, where contact with individuals is minimal, the need for single use PPE items for each encounter, for example, gloves and aprons is not necessary. Gloves and aprons are recommended when there is (anticipated) exposure to blood/body fluids or non-intact skin. Staff administering vaccinations/injections must apply hand hygiene between patients and wear a sessional facemask.