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Lack of social distancing in NHS staff social areas alarms national chiefs

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National leaders have said healthcare workers must do better on social distancing amid growing evidence that staff-to-staff transmission is the significant factor in the spread of coronavirus throughout hospitals.

NHS England national clinical director for trauma Dr Chris Moran, said: “I’ve witnessed and I’m sure you’ve all witnessed that actually healthcare workers are not necessarily been the best at managing social distancing. We know when directly managing patients that it [social distancing] is impossible, that’s what PPE is for to protect both sides of the equation. But I think in the staff-only areas we could do quite a lot better in some of the places that I’ve visited.”

National director for acute care Keith Willett added: “The evidence we’ve seen coming through suggests the infection risks from staff to patients or patients to staff seems very low but the risks to staff of infection, COVID-19 infection, within hospitals is much, much, much higher between staff and staff, and patients and patients.”

The warning comes after NHS England’s patient safety director Dr Aidan Fowler said he was concerned about the rates of "nosocomial spread within our hospitals”.

Following national guidance designed to facilitate an increase in elective operations and other routine work, NHS trusts have been asked to set up “covid free” green zones and blue zones with a higher COVID-19 risk.

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Source: HSJ, 21 May 2020

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