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New coronavirus guidance on face coverings

Posted on: 17 June 2020

The government has advised that from Monday 15 June 2020, you will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient, to reduce the chance of infecting others with COVID-19. Face coverings must also be worn for the full duration of journeys on public transport from Monday 15 June 2020. For more guidance on using face coverings on public transport and busy spaces click here.


The use of face coverings when coming to hospital

People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or show no symptoms and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures within the GP Care Group to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.


What does this mean for me?

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our hospitals safe. If you are coming to our GP Out of Hours service or our Urgent Treatment Centre as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, please see a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.

If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival. 

If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.

All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.