NHS Patients, Staff and Visitors Must Continue To Wear Face Coverings in Healthcare Settings
England’s Chief Nurse has today reminded the public that 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 Monday. 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.
Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment. “And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections. “As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly. “It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”
Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease and this guidance remains in place. “We expect patients, visitors and NHS staff to continue using face coverings and maintain social distancing in all healthcare settings as we cautiously lift restrictions on Monday. “I urge everyone to play their part and think of those more vulnerable than you when visiting your local hospital or GP surgery.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said: “It is absolutely right that basic infection prevention and control measures stay in place in healthcare settings. Simple steps such as wearing a face mask and keeping a safe distance away from others are a minor inconvenience but could have a profound positive impact when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable and I strongly support the chief nurse with this clear reminder.”
Jude Diggins, Interim RCN Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs said: “The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases shows that we have some way to go before being free from the pandemic. The public understand the importance of face masks, social distancing and vigilant handwashing in all health and care settings. These must continue in order to protect patients and nursing staff thus helping to ensure the NHS has the capacity to treat everyone who needs it if pressures keep increasing.”
Eddie Crouch, Chair of the British Dental Association said: "These guidelines are in place to protect patients and staff. When visiting a dentist face coverings, social distancing and hand washing remain fundamentals not optional extras. Wider changes that take place on Monday will have no impact on how the public should approach accessing our services."
Thorrun Govind, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England said: “Pharmacists and their teams are working really hard to support patient care and the public can do its bit to help keep people safe. While some pharmacies are in retail environments, they’re still a healthcare setting and have been relied upon to support and protect the public throughout the pandemic. I’d urge everyone entering a pharmacy or any healthcare setting to wear and mask and maintain social distancing to reduce the risk from COVID-19 to both patients and staff.”
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Although restrictions are easing, NHS staff are under pressure trying to clear the long wait lists that have built up during the pandemic. At the same time, Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly and many people remain vulnerable. It’s vital that staff know they will be kept safe and the public are clear that measures like social distancing and mask wearing will still be needed to stop the spread in healthcare settings."
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “This confirmation is exactly what health leaders across the country needed to hear as we head towards the final coronavirus restrictions lifting in England as it will validate their intention to continue following the existing infection control guidelines. It is not too much to ask of those visiting or using NHS services to continue wearing a mask and respecting social distancing measures if it can keep themselves and those around them safe from this horrible disease."
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We have also developed a nursing strategy for patients who receive check-ups for their chronic disease to ensure that their care is still delivered.
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If you are experiencing problem getting though on the telephone
We are aware of the difficulties that some of our patients are experiencing in getting through to the practice on the telephone. We do apologise and we are working hard to resolve this with our IT/telephone supplier.
We are aware that during peak periods, for example, Monday mornings, phone lines tend to be by far the busiest,the increase use of the system for booking Covid Vaccinations as acerbated the demand.
Practices in Pennine Lancashire are working with the supplier to migrate away from what was an old system to a new one and work is planned to conclude by the end of the current month.
This new system has additional capacity for practices when they are experiencing a high volume of calls. We will keep patients up to date with this and in the meantime ask patients to bear with us, particularly during peak periods
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COVID Vaccinations Update
Darwen Healthcare is delighted to advise that the community clinics are now in progress in Blackburn with Darwen.
If you are eligible - We will contact you in due course with an invitation to book. We ask at this time that you wait until contacted. We need to keep the telephone lines as free as possible for patients ringing in who may be acutely unwell.
We know many of you will have many questions about the new Covid vaccine. To help you with any queries that you may have please click the link below that will take you to the Blackburn with Darwen CCG Covid Frequently Asked Questions site
Can we take this opportunity to than you all for your patience not all eligible patients will be invited before Christmas but rest assured, we will continue to roll out invites as the vaccine become available in line with National delivery programmes and eligibility
Appointment Information June - Nov 2020 & Dec2020 - May 2021
Healthy Darwen Community Group
Darwen Healthcare is one of the three GP Practices supporting the Darwen Primary Care Neighbourhood. The group has held two health days in Darwen and you can find more information at https://www.healthydarwen.com/