Face coverings to be worn in hospitals from today
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust is introducing new measures to help prevent COVID-19 transmission amongst visitors, patients and staff.
As of today (15/6), all patients and visitors to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey; Wexham Park Hospital in Slough; Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot; as well as other community services run by the Trust; must wear face coverings at all times.
This follows an announcement made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care earlier this month, whereby he said that all visitors and outpatients must wear face coverings while in a hospital setting, to reduce the risk of transmission in hospitals (nosocomial transmission). He also said that staff in hospitals in England must wear face masks.
People infected with COVID-19 may have very mild symptoms, or none at all (asymptomatic) but can still transmit the virus to others without being aware of it. The new measures are therefore being introduced to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.
What does this mean for me?
We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our hospitals safe. If you are coming to hospital as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.
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.
We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, please see a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.
If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.
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, our 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.
All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.
You may find the following Q&As helpful – click here.
For up to date information on visiting at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, click here.