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Tuesday 14 June 2022

Changes to mask wearing and social distancing guidance across UHS sites

New guidance has been issued by NHS England on the wearing of masks in healthcare settings.

Our infection prevention and control team have been working to review the guidance and how this will be applied across UHS sites.

Now local risk assessments have been completed, we can confirm that with immediate effect staff, patients and visitors will not routinely be required to wear facemasks in non-clinical and clinical areas of UHS, unless this is their personal preference.

There will be some exceptions to that, for example in certain specific clinical areas and in response to particular infection control guidance. There are more details further down this webpage.

In certain circumstances patients will also be asked to wear masks and this will be explained by your care team.

This will include areas like the Emergency Department and other admission areas while you are waiting to be triaged by a member of staff.

Where mask wearing is still required, appropriate signage and a supply of masks will be made available.

Masks will also remain available at the entrances to the hospital for those who wish to maintain using them.

We appreciate the easing of mask wearing and social distancing requirements marks a significant change for both our staff and our patients, and we need to continue to support each other during this period of transition. During this time we will also work to update all signage and messaging that is either being displayed through the estate or is available through our digital channels.

General guidance still in place at UHS

Members of the public should not attend any health or care settings if they are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, other respiratory viruses or symptoms of viral gastro-enteritis, unless seeking urgent medical treatment.

Visitor restrictions also remains in place, please visit our visitor guidance pages for more information.

Visitors will still be required to wear masks in the following circumstances:

  • In inpatient, outpatient and day case areas where oncology or haematology patients are cared for. For example in all cancer care wards, cancer care day case units and cancer care outpatient depts.
  • If visiting or accompanying patients who have symptoms or who are confirmed COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 symptomatic or suspected patients/patients with symptoms suggestive of a respiratory virus who are awaiting a test result , COVID-19 contacts (contacts of a confirmed positive case) and symptomatic patients who decline COVID-19 testing.