Hospital face masks had previously been required in all areas of Nottingham University Hospitals’ (NUH) three sites since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to protect staff, patients and visitors from COVID-19.
Under the new guidance that came into effect in June 2022, face masks are currently only compulsory in clinical areas.
This includes all wards, outpatient areas and our Emergency Department, as well as the trust’s intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, theatres and other areas where its most vulnerable patients are treated.
Michelle Rhodes, Chief Nurse for NUH, said: “Face masks have played a huge part in our efforts to protect many of our most vulnerable staff, patients and visitors from COVID-19 – and it’s important that continues clinical areas of our hospitals.
“While we are now in a position to be able to cautiously step-down the need to wear face masks in corridors, retail outlets and restaurants, COVID-19 is still with us and we are continuing to treat dozens of patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals each and every day.
“We will make clear which areas of our hospitals you need to wear a hospital face mask in when you visit our hospitals and our message is clear: if you’re asked, please wear a mask.”
New signage will be placed across the trust’s sites to make clear where staff, patients and visitors still need to wear a mask in clinical areas.
Despite stepping-down the need to wear a face mask in non-clinical areas, the trust will continue to make face masks available at mask stations throughout its hospitals for anyone who wishes to wear one.
“We know that these changes will be welcomed by many, but we also know they will be the cause of a great deal of anxiety for some of our staff, patients and visitors,” the Trust’s Chief Nurse added.
“We will continue to invite anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to do so if they wish – and we ask that people ‘be kind’ to others who choose to wear one, whatever their reasons for doing so may be.”
The Trust will keep its face mask, visiting and social distancing requirements under review to assess the impact of these changes on staff absence rates and the number of COVID outbreaks within the trust