England: Face coverings must still be worn in healthcare settings
15 July 2021
Following our recent message to the Prime Minister, England's Chief Nursing Officer has now reminded the public that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.
While wider Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday:
- Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines will remain in place for all staff and patients.
- NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including dental practices, hospitals, GP 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.
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."
Health Minister Jo Churchill added: “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."
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."