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Patients still required to wear face coverings in GP practices and other healthcare settings after COVID-19 restrictions ease

Monday, 19 July 2021

Patients in Hertfordshire and west Essex will still be required to wear face coverings in GP practices and other healthcare settings as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The guidance from the NHS for healthcare settings has not changed, and patients who are not exempt from wearing a face covering should continue to wear one, follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidance. If patients are exempt from wearing a mask, a face shield may be offered as an alternative.

COVID-19 infection rates are rising in all areas of the country which means its vitally important we continue to do all we can against the virus. Wearing a face covering is an effective way of reducing transmission. It’s also really important that anyone who is eligible for a vaccine and hasn’t yet come forward does so without delay, it’s the best defence we have against COVID-19.

Dr Jane Halpin, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System and Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “We need to continue to do what we can to keep people safe from catching Covid-19 in healthcare settings. One way we can all help with this is by continuing to wear a face-covering and we are asking all patients to do that, as well as staff. Keeping staff safe is essential to keep operating efficiently.

“We are also continuing to make sure we don’t have large numbers of patients in waiting areas– again this is about reducing the chance of infection when there are rising rates in the community.

“The various measures we have taken, including increased use of personal protective equipment, patients wearing face masks, holding more virtual consultations, social distancing and extra premises cleans have helped protect staff, patients and visitors over the past year. Taking these steps has also enabled us to continue providing many of the non-urgent services that would otherwise have been postponed.

“We want to make sure you can all be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.

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