Following latest Government guidance, from Monday 15th June 2020 members of the public visiting patients or attending outpatient appointments in our hospitals must wear a face covering.
Please note, this guidance does not cover the use of masks for inpatients nor the use of masks as personal protective equipment.
Below are some useful FAQs to help you:
- Will wearing a face covering change the existing visiting arrangements?
No. The latest visiting arrangements, including outpatient appointments, was updated on our website on 9th June and is available here.
- Why are we asking visitors/patients visiting the site to wear face coverings?
Outpatients or visitors coming to our hospitals will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus to others. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.
- What is the difference between a face mask and a face covering?
All surgical face masks are medical devices provided by the hospital.
Face coverings can be cloth or homemade and should cover the nose and mouth of the wearer.
- Will cloth or homemade face coverings be sufficient?
Outpatient and visitor face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade. See Government guidance, including how to make a face covering, here.
- If I am wearing a mask, do I still have to social distance?
Yes. All visitors will be expected to comply with two metre social/physical distancing and the recommended hand hygiene measures. If you need to be examined or a face-to-face consultation has been arranged, the face covering must be worn.
- What does this mean for shielding patients?
For those patients who are currently shielding, and who have been provided with a surgical face mask for their appointments, these should be worn. Where not already provided, patients should wear a face covering.
- Does my face covering worn for religious beliefs/cultural practice qualify?
Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.
- Do children need to wear a face covering?
Children and babies under three years should not wear a covering, as per recently updated Department for Health and Social Care guidance.
- What if you cannot wear a face mask?
For some, wearing of a face covering may be difficult, and therefore all other measures must be adhered to – i.e. social/physical distancing.
If you cannot wear a mask, and you haven’t already received information about this ahead of your visit, please make contact with your department for an individual risk assessment.
- What about the impact of masks on communication for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment?
The use of face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic may have an impact on patients who are deaf or have a hearing impairment as they can block the face of healthcare workers and prevent the ability to use visual cues such as facial expressions and lip reading.
Please contact your department ahead of your visit if you are deaf or have an hearing impairment to ensure a plan can be put in place to aid effective communication.
Our staff have received guidance on ensuring that effective communication can still be maintained.
- What if I do not have a face covering?
We are encouraging all visitors to attend our hospitals using a face covering. If you do not currently have one, please see the Government guidance on making your own face covering. If you still do not have one when attending hospital, you will be issued one from our main entrances.
As a guide, you can 'Download our Keeping you safe in our hospitals' poster for reference.