Patients required to continue wearing face coverings in healthcare settings

Herts patients will still be required to wear face coverings when visiting healthcare settings

Herts patients will still be required to wear face coverings when visiting healthcare settings after the Plan B restrictions are lifted - Credit: NHS East and North Herts CCG

Patients visiting GP practices, hospitals and other healthcare settings will be asked to continue to wear face coverings following the lifting of Plan B measures this week. 

The mandatory requirement to wear a face covering in public places, as well the as the instruction to work from home if you can, will be lifted on Thursday as COVID cases drop.

However, patients in Hertfordshire will still be required to wear face coverings in healthcare settings.

NHS guidance for healthcare settings has not changed, and patients and visitors who are not exempt from wearing a face covering should continue to wear one and practice social distancing.

Those who are not fully vaccinated are also strongly being encouraged to come forward and get their first, second or booster dose, now.

Dr Rachel Joyce, director of clinical and professional services for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System, said: "Throughout the pandemic, health and care staff have been working tirelessly to care for patients and service users safely.

"There will be no change in health and care settings from Thursday, January 27 - patients and carers arriving at our health and care buildings will still need to wear a mask, socially distance and use hand sanitiser.

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“The virus has not gone away and case numbers are still high due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Wearing a face covering is an effective way of preventing the spread of infection, particularly in busy or crowded indoor spaces.

"We appreciate people’s support and understanding for the welfare of staff and other patients – some of whom are very sick and vulnerable.

“It’s also really important that anyone who is eligible for a vaccine and hasn’t yet come forward does so without delay. Our vaccinators are always delighted to welcome people attending for the first time.”

Vaccines:

  • 12 to 15 year-olds can get their second vaccination from three months after their first dose, either via an appointment booked online or by calling 119, at some  walk-in clinics, or at school. Children who have had COVID-19 must leave a 12-week gap between their positive test or the start of symptoms and their next COVID vaccination.
  • ·Anyone aged 16+ who had their second dose more than 12 weeks ago can get a booster by booking an appointment or going to an advertised walk-in clinic.
  •  Immunocompromised patients are now eligible for a fourth vaccine dose three months after their third dose and will be contacted by their GP practice. Alternatively, they can book an appointment or walk in if they are already at 12 weeks
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women can attend walk-in vaccination sites for a first, second or booster dose, without the need for an appointment. Make yourself know to staff on site and you will be ‘fast tracked’ past any queues.

Plans are currently being drawn up to ensure that five to 11-year-old children who are known to be at high risk from COVID-19, or who live with family members who are known to be at high risk because of having a weakened immune system, can start to get vaccinated from next week onwards.

Walk-in clinics – where no appointment is needed - are advertised at https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/walk-ins.