Should we wear a face mask when visiting GP?
PUBLISHED: 10:47 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:47 18 June 2020
Health bosses have attempted to clarify guidance on wearing face coverings to GP appointments, after practices were left out of the list of locations where it is now compulsory.
On Monday, new regulations came into force that face coverings must be worn in hospitals and on public transport, but there was no mention of GP practices.
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Now the Government and local health chiefs have said patients are “advised” to wear masks at surgeries.
Many GP surgeries across Norfolk are asking patients to wear a face covering when they attend an appointment and have informed patients via their website, text message or on social media.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) advises the public to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where they may be more likely to come into contact with people they do not normally meet, which includes GP surgeries and pharmacists.
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A Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spokesman said: “To support the ongoing response to coronavirus, local GP practices may request that patients wear face coverings when attending for an appointment.
“Arrangements may vary from practice to practice. If you are unsure of the arrangements at your local surgery, give them a call or check their website before attending your appointment.
“Social distancing and effective hand washing are the best ways of protecting ourselves and each other. Face coverings are not a replacement for this.”
Medical bodies including the British Medical Association (BMA) called for clarity around the guidelines on Monday.
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Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “It is imperative that we do all we can to prevent the spread of infection in healthcare settings, so that patients and visitors can attend hospital and GP practices without fear of contamination. The wearing of masks by staff and face coverings by the public will be key to enabling this.
“It is clear though that the Government has failed to properly plan for these changes which are now in effect and have left providers of NHS services confused and unprepared for how this will be implemented on the frontline.”
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