Face mask rules: You must wear a mask in East Sussex healthcare settings

The NHS trust for East Sussex has revealed patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face masks in healthcare settings.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 2:50 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 3:00 pm

The face mask requirement continues in healthcare settings despite rules changing on Monday (July 19).

The NHS trust for East Sussex covers Bexhill Hospital, Conquest Hospital in Hastings, Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced it would no longer be a legal requirement to wear a mask from Monday, but government guidance says it ‘expects and recommends’ people to keep wearing them in crowded areas.

NHS staff

Despite this, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors which means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.

Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings/face masks and other personal protection equipment.

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said, “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.

“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.

“As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control the Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.

“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”

Health Minister Jo Churchill said, “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease and this guidance remains in place.

“We expect patients, visitors and NHS staff to continue using face coverings and maintain social distancing in all healthcare settings as we cautiously lift restrictions on Monday.

“I urge everyone to play their part and think of those more vulnerable than you when visiting your local hospital or GP surgery.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, agrees with the decision.

She said, “It is absolutely right that basic infection prevention and control measures stay in place in healthcare settings. Simple steps such as wearing a face mask and keeping a safe distance away from others are a minor inconvenience but could have a profound positive impact when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable and I strongly support the chief nurse with this clear reminder.”