The Government must protect health staff and vulnerable patients as COVID-19 rules loosen, the RCN, BMA and others have stated in a joint letter to the Prime Minister.
The letter states that ‘the need to recognise health and care settings as unique environments for the care and safety of the most vulnerable is paramount. While you state that you would expect the public to continue wearing face coverings in healthcare settings, we ask that this is translated into action. We cannot accept knowingly allowing patients and staff to become infected by the virus and becoming ill in a setting that is meant to look after peoples’ health. We would be failing in our duty to patients by putting them at risk of avoidable harm.’
‘The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases shows that we have some way to go before being free from the pandemic,’ said Jude Diggins, Interim Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs at the Royal College of Nursing.
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‘Using face masks, social distancing and handwashing must continue if we are to continue to protect the population.’
According to the letter, members of the public should continue wearing face masks, social distancing and washing hands regularly. Staff must be given the appropriate level of PPE and ventilation in their workplaces.
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‘It is important to recognise that nursing staff are more vulnerable than the general public as they work closely with patients who may have contracted COVID-19,’ added Ms Diggins.
‘To keep them safe, they must be provided with and supported to use the highest level of protection through the use of FFP3 masks where necessary and in all environments.’