From today, there is no longer a requirement for universal IIR fluid repellent mask-wearing in clinical areas.
Gill Manojlovic, lead nurse for infection prevention and control, said: "Following a review, it has been agreed to remove universal mask-wearing from next Tuesday. Hopefully this change is welcomed by colleagues, visitors and patients alike as another step toward our new normal.
"Masks will still be available for anyone who prefers to wear one. The IPC team will be out on the wards all week and will be happy to answer any questions you have."
We are asking that masks are still used in certain situations:
- As part of transmission-based precautions for patients known/suspected to have an infectious respiratory disease
- As part of outbreak management for infectious respiratory diseases
- Face-to-face clinical interactions with patients who are immunosuppressed
- Staff who are symptomatic of an infectious respiratory disease but fit to work
- Continue as part of standard practice for surgical procedures.
Masks are to be worn for all face-to-face clinical interactions with patients who have a confirmed or suspected infectious respiratory disease, either IIR fluid repellent masks or FFP3 masks as appropriate: refer to the respiratory protection guide, isolation policy, National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM) and Testing & Management of Infectious Respiratory Diseases - Standard Operating Procedure.
Masks must be worn as part of outbreak control where instructed by the Outbreak Control Group (OCG). The type of mask required (IIR fluid repellent masks or FFP3) will be advised by the IPCT.
IIR fluid repellent masks are to be worn as per theatre/dept policies for surgical procedures.
IIR fluid repellent masks to be worn for all face-to-face clinical interactions with patients who are immunosuppressed i.e. haematology, oncology patients who have neutrophils of less than 1.0 or are on long term steroids.
Staff with symptoms of respiratory infection should wear a surgical mask for any interactions with patients plus within 1m of colleagues (if well enough to attend work).
Staff still have the option to wear IIR fluid-repellent masks if they choose to, in any area.