Next steps on infection prevention and control (IPC)
IPC guidance has continued to evolve throughout the pandemic. UKHSA has updated its UK IPC guidance with new COVID-19 pathogen-specific advice for health and care professionals. This advice should be read alongside the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM) for England and applies to all NHS settings or settings where NHS services are delivered.
Any IPC measures beyond those contained in above publications is a matter for local discretion.
In summary (for full article, see attached).
For health and care staff:
- Health and care staff should continue to wear facemasks as part of personal protective equipment required for transmission-based precautions when caring for suspected/confirmed COVID-19 patients. This is likely to include settings where untriaged patients may present at the Practice.
- Universal masking should be applied when there is known or suspected cluster transmission of SARS-CoV-2, e.g. during an outbreak, and/or if new SARS-CoV-2 VOC emerge.
- Universal masking should also be considered in settings where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression eg oncology/haematology.
- Health and care staff are in general NOT required to wear facemasks in non-clinical areas e.g. offices, social settings, unless this is THEIR personal preference or there are specific issues raised by a risk assessment.
- Patients with respiratory symptoms who are required to attend should wear a facemask/covering, if tolerated, or offered one on arrival.
- All other patients are not required to wear a facemask unless this is a personal preference.
- Patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression, e.g. oncology/haematology, visitors may be asked to wear a facemask.
- Visitors and individuals accompanying patients to appointments are not routinely required to wear a facemask unless this is a personal preference.