Advice on patients wearing face coverings in practices

The surgery has a legal responsibility to protect staff and patients from risks associated with COVID-19. We have conducted our own risk assessment to determine necessary controls, and we ask that patients please apply a face covering before entering the surgery, when possible.

Wearing a face covering is an added precaution that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on. Evidence shows a face covering can help in reducing the spread of droplets; it stops them from leaving the mouth and nose area and reduces the size of area in which they spread.

A medical grade clinical mask is not necessary. These need to be prioritised to clinical staff working in high risk areas. Instead, for patients who are visiting healthcare sites, a face covering is sufficient and there is guidance for people to make these at home with items they may already own.

Contaminated droplets can also be picked up from surfaces by touch and subsequently from touching the face. It is important people refrain from touching their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing. Regular hand washing remains an important action.