Why is a recommendation now being made for all general practice staff to wear a face mask?
The recommendations have been made for all staff to help prevent the spread of infection. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it, so it is important we take steps to reduce the risk of transmission from staff who may be asymptomatic. A face mask worn in this context will help to reduce the risk of directly transmitting SARS-CoV-2 from the wearer to others and indirectly transmitting the virus to others from contaminated environmental surfaces. The use of face coverings in GP practices is a local decision to help protect public and staff and is not national PHE guidance.
Where do I need to wear a face mask?
Masks must be worn by general practice staff in settings which are not risk assessed as COVID secure or where you cannot be socially distanced.
What do the different surgical face mask types mean?
All surgical/medical face masks are classified as Type I, IR, II, IIR, and are medical devices. These are tested against BS EN 14683:2019. The tests check the bacterial filtration of the mask, the breathing resistance and the splash resistance. Type IR and Type IIR have an extra layer of material that ensures splash resistance. Face coverings are not considered acceptable substitutes for staff.
Can I attend work if I have COVID-19 symptoms if I wear a mask?
No. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you and your household should isolate at home and follow PHE guidelines: wearing a mask does not change this.
Why are we asking visitors/patients visiting the site to wear face coverings?
Patients and visitors coming to general practice services in Lancashire and South Cumbria will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus to others. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it Patients and visitors are advised to bring a face covering ahead of coming to appointments in general practice.
The use of face coverings in GP practices is a local decision to help protect public and staff and is not national PHE guidance.
What happens if a patient/visitor does not have a face covering when they come to a GP surgery?
If a patient or visitor does not have a face covering, a mask will be provided on arrival.
Does my face covering worn for religious beliefs/cultural practice qualify?
Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.
Do I need a letter from my GP for exemptions for facemask use?
No. If you require them for travel then the travel companies have their own system.
Exemption cards can be found here:
More information is available on: https://www.keepsafe.org.uk/mask
There is further information here for travel: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#exemptions-face-coverings