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Public urged to plan ahead to wear face coverings in hospitals

Friday, 12 June, 2020
Public urged to plan ahead to wear face coverings in hospitals

The NHS in the north east and north Cumbria is urging the public to plan ahead and have face coverings available to wear when they attend hospital settings from Monday 15 June.

The request comes ahead of government guidance coming into force following evidence from its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that face coverings could help reduce transmission risk among those suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

Alongside wearing a face covering, people attending hospital settings are asked to:

  • Wash their hands often and on entering and leaving the premises, use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available
  • Follow social distancing measures
  • Adhere to guidance issued by the healthcare provider regarding attendance and/or visiting
  • Come in alone, wherever possible

Professor Chris Gray, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “We would like to thank people across the north east and north Cumbria for their support at this time and over the last few challenging months.

“As increasing numbers of people start to access NHS services again, it’s more important than ever that we all take measures to protect our patients, visitors and staff and help further prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities.

“Covering your mouth and nose is a necessary practice to enable us to help do this alongside washing your hands often and particularly on entering and leaving a hospital, and following social distancing measures.

“We’d urge people intending to come into a hospital setting to plan ahead and have a face covering with them ready to wear and play their part in helping keep us all safe.”

Further information will be displayed in hospitals.

Notes to editors

Guidance for primary care settings is expected soon.

While people are strongly urged to have their own face covering, masks will be available at hospitals if they do not have one.

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.

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, 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.

Media contact
Jaclyn Curry – 07833 046680