Face masks to be mandatory for all visitors and outpatients at Milton Keynes Hospital from tomorrow

    From Monday 15 June, any visitor to the Milton Keynes Hospital site (outpatient or approved visitor) will be required to wear a face covering or face mask when entering any building on the hospital site.

    Visitors that do not have their own face mask or covering will be able to obtain them from the nearest reception desk.

    Inpatients will not be required to wear a mask.

    The Hospital have released some frequently asked questions about the new policy which are below:

    What is the difference between a face mask and a face covering?
    All surgical face masks are classified as either Type I, IR, II, IIR, and are medical devices provided by the hospital.

    Face coverings can be cloth or homemade and should cover the nose and mouth of the wearer.

    Why are we asking visitors/patients visiting the site to wear face coverings?

    Outpatients or visitors coming to the hospital will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus to others.

    Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

    Outpatients should be advised of the need to bring a face covering ahead of coming to hospital for planned and outpatient care (outpatient appointments etc); for example in appointment setting calls and confirmation letters.

    What happens if an outpatient/visitor does not have a face covering when they come to the hospital?

    If an outpatient or visitor does not have a face covering when they come to hospital, one can be provided at the nearest reception desk.

    What does this mean for shielding patients?

    For those patients who are currently shielding, and who have been provided with a surgical face mask for their appointments, these should be worn. Where not already provided, patients should wear a face covering.

    What about cloth/homemade/donated face masks?

    Outpatient and visitor face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade (www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering).

    All visitors will be expected to comply with two -metre social/physical distancing and the recommended hand hygiene measures.

    Where applicable, visitors to high risk COVID-19 areas of the hospital or visitors of patients with confirmed COVID-19 must wear appropriate PPE as per the current IPC guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novelcoronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control.

    Staff should comply with the guidance on wearing a surgical face mask (as appropriate when in clinical/non-clinical areas) while at work.

    Does my face covering worn for religious beliefs/cultural practice qualify?

    Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

    What if an outpatient/visitor is unable to wear a face covering?

    For some, wearing of a face covering may be difficult, and therefore all other measures must also be considered and introduced e.g. social/physical distancing, timed appointments; being seen immediately and not kept in waiting rooms.

    Individual risk assessments should be undertaken where required; for example, patients with mental health and learning disabilities. Such risk assessments must be documented.

    What about the impact of masks on communication for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment?

    The use of face masks due to the coronavirus pandemic may have an impact on patients who are deaf or have a hearing impairment as they can block the face of healthcare workers and prevent the ability to use visual cues such as facial expressions and lip reading.

    The Government’s PPE procurement team has sourced an initially small number of clear surgical face masks to support communication with patients who may be deaf or hearing impaired. They are working with regions to identify where those are best distributed.

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