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Mask guidance downgraded amid reports of failing stock


Public Health England PHE) has made new changes to its guidance on the use of face masks as “a pragmatic approach for times of severe shortage”.

The update came as trust procurement leads reported receiving substandard face masks from national stocks over the weekend, although a PHE spokesman told HSJ that this had not caused the change to guidance.

PHE on Sunday updated its guidance on the use of certain facemasks facing “acute shortages”. The new advice states that FFP2 respirators can be worn without fit testing in lieu of surgical masks in non-surgical settings.

The new guidance says: “This is a pragmatic approach for times of severe shortage of respiratory protective equipment, FFP2 respirators being used in this way will not be carrying out the function they were designed to perform.”

However, FFP2 respirators must still be properly fit-tested in situations where this level of protection is required, the new PHE advice states.

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Source: 4 May 2020

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