Staff working in clinical areas wear different masks depending on their ward or the treatment they are giving. Staff working in non-clinical areas are required to wear surgical masks only.
Surgical masks should be worn at all times when moving around the hospital and in communal spaces including offices, kitchens and rest areas. The only time your mask should be removed is when you are at least two metres away from colleagues.
For detailed guidance, FAQs, and exceptions, please read the supporting documents via the links below:
Staff guidance on wearing facemasks:
Staff FAQs on wearing facemasks:
IPC facemask poster:
Why wear a facemask?
The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease from someone who is suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
Viruses cannot move by themselves - it needs to travel in a carrier. The carrier is a fluid droplet that you expel when you cough, sneeze, talk, laugh and even breathe out. Most of the fluid droplets will be stopped from entering the air if you are wearing a mask. Even if some of the fluid droplets land on your mask the majority will not pass through. This gives the mask wearer some additional protection too but the main reason to wear a mask is to protect others in case you have the virus and are not showing symptoms.
The science tells us that Covid-19 is dose-dependant, so the more particles of the virus that enter your body, the sicker you will become. Therefore, there is real benefit in reducing that volume by wearing a mask and protecting your colleagues and patients.
Using your mask correctly
Before putting on and after taking off your mask, your hands should be washed. Masks should be replaced regularly.
You should make sure:
• Your mask covers your nose, mouth and chin completely.
• Your mask is fitted securely around your nose.
• Your mask does not have any rips or tears.
• You do not touch the front of your mask once it is on.
• You do not pull you mask down around your neck when it is not in use.
Masks worn in clinical and public areas should be disposed of in the appropriate clinical waste bins. For masks worn in non-clinical areas, domestic bins can be used.
The use of facemasks, and other PPE does not remove the need to be vigilant with other hygiene measures, including social distancing.
Wearing other types of PPE
Other PPE such a gloves, apron and eye protection are all there to protect you from the virus on your body and your clothes. Please check with your line manager if you are unsure what the correct PPE is for your work area including how often it should be replaced.
How do I order facemasks for my team?
Each department has been provided details for the delivery of masks and an individual has been identified to co-ordinate the distribution and will communicate with staff in that area.
How should surgical facemasks be disposed of? Clinical waste or domestic waste?
- In Clinical areas with COVID19 positive patients: Dispose of the facemask in Infectious (Orange bags.)
- In Clinical areas with non-COVID19 patients: Facemasks should be disposed of in the Offensive waste (Yellow and black or “Tiger” bags.)
- Public entrances and exits: Facemasks should be disposed of in the Offensive waste (Yellow & black or “Tiger” bags). Additional bins will be provided.
- Non-COVID19 staff areas and other communal areas (e.g. Admin): Facemasks should be disposed of in the domestic waste stream (Black bags.)