Clinicians are thanking patients for preventing the spread of Covid-19 by wearing face coverings in GP surgeries and hospitals.

The latest Government public health measures, introduced this week, direct all staff in hospitals in England to wear face masks, and all visitors and outpatients to wear face coverings while in hospital sites, to reduce the risk of transmission in hospitals.

These recommendations ensure all staff in clinical and non-clinical roles wear face masks at all times, when not in places that already require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In Derbyshire GP practices have also taken the step of requiring people to wear face coverings for face-to-face appointments in surgeries.

This latest move supports all the other measures being taken, which include; social distancing, hand washing, frequent surface decontamination, COVID-secure areas, and ventilation.

Dr Steve Lloyd, Medical Director for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I want to thank the public and NHS staff for taking these extra measures which help protect them and others.

“As has been said many times, Covid-19 is an invisible enemy, so if someone has no symptoms of having the virus, they can spread it without knowing.

“Taking these additional steps will help ensure we control the virus and stop this from happening.

“There’s no need to be alarmed if you see your GP or hospital medic in protective wear, and as face coverings are now being worn by people using public transport I’m sure we’ll all get more used to seeing them.

“These are just the sensible precautions we all need to take to keep ourselves and our loved ones well.”

Information on requirement to wear a face covering when coming to hospital for planned and outpatient care should be included in all patient communications, such as appointment setting calls and confirmation letters.

Face coverings can be made of cloth and be reusable in line with government guidance. 

Dr Susie Bayley, Medical Director of Derbyshire’s General Practice Task Force said: “Thank you to all patients for supporting us as we all do what we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“I’d urge everyone to continue to help us help you stay safe when you come to your GP practice or hospital by wearing a face covering.”

Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are tight fitting, made of at least three layers of material, and cover the mouth and nose.

Patients currently shielding, who have been provided with a surgical face mask for appointments, should continue using them.

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 may be an option.