The UK Government and NHS leaders from a range of medical and nursing royal colleges have published new guidance about personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS teams who are likely to come into contact with patients with coronavirus. The guidance has been agreed by the 4 Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers and Chief Dental Officers in the UK and is applicable in all parts of the UK.
The guidance specifically mentions the PPE recommended for pharmacists and pharmacy teams.
This guidance has been issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health England and NHS England as official guidance.
The Health and Safety Executive have also reviewed the PPE guidance and have agreed on the appropriate sessional use of PPE. Expert reviews and advice from the DHSC New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) inform this guidance.
The publication of the new PPE guidance was broadly welcomed.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for Public Health England said:
“Protecting our NHS colleagues on the frontline is vitally important. This updated guidance provides a greater degree of clarity so that NHS clinicians caring for patients feel confident in the PPE they need to wear. Our standards are amongst the highest in the world and in line with what WHO recommends in circumstances and settings with the highest risk of transmission.”
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England said:
“It is absolutely right that frontline staff have the appropriate PPE so they are safe and can have the confidence they need to do their jobs.
“Public Health England has updated their advice to provide additional clarity for staff. This was done with the support of a wide range of professional groups and it has my full support. NHS England and the government are working hard to secure the supply lines in this challenging period so staff have the appropriate equipment.”
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives have played a lead role in developing the guidance with member organisations providing practical input into the advice.
Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chair, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said:
“This is the combined result of experts in infection control working with front line clinicians to provide the best guidance on the protection and safety of all healthcare staff, in any circumstances, based on scientific evidence; while taking into account the real-life clinical circumstances faced by staff and the concerns they have raised about their own, and their patients’, safety.”
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer said:
“It’s vital our staff are safe and ensure they feel safe and confident that they are being properly protected, as they look after increasing numbers of people during this global health pandemic, which will put health services across the world under pressure. This new guidance should give each and every member of staff the confidence that they are wearing the right level of equipment to keep them safe as they care for our loved ones.”
Fran Leddra and Mark Harvey, joint-Chief Social Worker for Adults (England) said:
“It’s so important for social workers and social care staff to feel safe working and serving their communities. The social care sector is vital in helping our NHS colleagues to respond to the challenges this pandemic is posing and this new guidance will give the information and reassurance people need to keep them safe as they care for the people we love at the most difficult time.
Andrew Goddard, President of the Royal College of Physicians said:
“Today’s updated guidance provides what clinicians have been asking for – a single set of recommendations which cover all NHS settings. We know that there has been a lot of confusion and concern over the past few weeks. I hope that this guidance will both reassure clinicians that they are being listened to, and give them the confidence that they are safe when caring for COVID-19 patients.”
Sara Gorton, UNISON head of health said:
“Any uncertainty about what equipment to wear and when causes unnecessarily anxiety. Staff need clear guidance and to know the risks have been assessed. Unions will work with trusts to make sure this crucial information reaches every single member of staff, so they know they are properly protected when they care for us.”
Dr Katherine Henderson President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said:
“We are pleased our concerns have been listened to and the inherent risk to the frontline recognised. It is essential that healthcare workers are protected so we can treat patients with confidence – this guidance helps us to do that.”
Professor Jim McManus, Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council said:
“Keeping residents and staff in social care settings including home care safe from COVID-19 is extremely important and its vital that social care staff and volunteers feel safe when they are providing support to people. This guidance will be welcomed by frontline social care staff.”
A summary of the guidance on recommended PPE for pharmacists and pharmacy teams has been published. Please see the details below.