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Changes to mask wearing

Changes to mask wearing
14 April 2023

From Monday 17 April 2023, visitors to St Mary’s Hospital and our other sites are once again no longer required to wear face masks in most clinical areas, unless it is their personal preference to do so. To continue to protect those who are most vulnerable and at high risk, we ask that the wearing of face masks continues where immunocompromised patients are treated for example in oncology, haematology, intensive care and chemotherapy departments.

These changes have been made due to the rate of positive COVID-19 cases remaining at a consistently low level in the community, and is in line with national guidance on the mandated use of face masks in healthcare settings.

It remains a priority to help to keep each other, our patients and our community safe and in order to continue to protect those who are vulnerable and of high risk, the following guidance must be followed:

  • We ask visitors to stay away if they have respiratory or COVID-19 symptoms
  • Visitors who are immunocompromised should continue to wear a mask if this can be tolerated
  • Visitors may be asked to wear a face mask for specific reasons including in our ‘higher risk’ clinical areas, such as the respiratory department and intensive care unit. Please speak to the ward or department you are visiting if you are unsure whether you need to wear a face mask.
  • Vulnerable and high-risk patients and visitors can ask staff members to wear a face mask, and these will continue to be available to those who choose to wear one.
  • All visitors should continue to sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the hospital and ward or department.

Many people will continue to choose to wear a face mask as their personal preference and this decision will be fully supported by the Trust.

Every entrance will continue to have a supply of masks and hand gel for people to use as they enter our hospital site.

Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs said: “Thank you to everyone who has helped us to keep our vulnerable patients and staff safe by following the infection control guidance in our organisation. The decision to stand down the use of mask wearing in our clinical areas is in response to the number of cases remaining at a low level on the Island.

“We will continue to monitor the level of COVID-19 in our community and our guidance may change again at any time should we see an increase in cases.”

Further information can be found on our Patient and Visitors’ webpage: www.iow.nhs.uk/visiting

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