In advance of Welsh Government’s three week review of remaining Covid-19 restrictions on Thursday, Dr David Bailey, Chair of the BMA’s Welsh Council, has urged caution.
He said: “Any removal of the legal requirement for face coverings in health and social care settings at Welsh Government’s upcoming restriction review would be extremely reckless at this time.
“Many of our patients, by the sheer nature of the health and social care services, are extremely vulnerable; and we know that Covid-19 is still a significant risk to them.
“Equally, with levels of infection still too high, frontline healthcare staff remain under pressure when colleagues test positive and are required to isolate to keep others safe.”
Dr Bailey, added “Welsh Government therefore has no other option than to retain the requirement for face coverings in these settings. Any move to simply encourage those accessing health services to wear a mask, or to pass the decision on to individual health boards and practices will only cause unwanted confusion and, in doing so, put staff and patients at risk and cause further delays in the Welsh NHS.
“Now should also be the time for Welsh Government to reassess the importance of health and safety risk assessments for both healthcare staff and settings. While these were introduced at the start of the pandemic, we now know much more about the virus than we did then, and these assessments to ensure staff are kept safe in work must be updated too.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.