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Hospitals defy NHS chiefs by telling patients to keep wearing face masks

A number of hospitals are insisting that patients keep wearing masks despite instructions from NHS chiefs to drop the rules.

National coronavirus guidance which insisted on face coverings has now been scrapped, with health officials leaving it to local organisations to draft their own policies.

However, several hospitals have called on patients and staff to continue to wear masks and face coverings on their sites.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has repeatedly called on NHS trusts to drop restrictions in hospitals which are limiting operational capacity. Last month, he threatened to name and shame hospitals that do not lift social distancing measures and restrictions on visitors.

A letter from health chiefs said that patients visiting accident and emergency (A&E) departments, hospital outpatient appointments and GP surgeries no longer needed to wear masks “unless this is a personal preference”.

Hospitals have now begun issuing guidance for their local communities, with a number saying they intend to keep insisting on people wearing masks.

The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS trust issued a notice to patients and staff saying: “We are still asking patients, visitors, staff and anyone working at one of our hospital or community sites to continue to wear a mask, gel hands and social distance while in our buildings despite the lifting of national restrictions."

“This is to keep vulnerable people as safe as possible.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Telegraph, 8 June 2022


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