Face Coverings Welcome Although Questions Will Be Asked About Why Not Sooner

Responding to new guidance that from 15 June all hospital staff will be required to wear surgical masks at all times and hospital visitors should wear face coverings, Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the health and care sector, said:

“We don’t know the true impact that coronavirus has had on the NHS workforce and so, while these new measures are welcome, questions will be asked about why they were not introduced sooner.

“This virus is not just infectious in hospitals. It is encouraging that the Government is considering how a requirement to wear face coverings can be extended to social care, where the disease has taken its hold most severely. Workers across other settings, including general practice, pharmacies and community services, should expect to receive the same level of protection. Consideration also needs to be given to mental health services where we know there are cases.

“Health leaders are telling us that they are keen to resume routine activity for patients, providing they can do so safely and so we must do everything we can to get the NHS back on track, while avoiding the prospect of a second peak.”