BMA welcomes updated guidance on Respiratory Protective Equipment but calls for better access for GPs

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 19 January 2022

Responding to the updated Infection Prevention and Control guidance, Professor Raymond Agius, BMA occupational medicine co- chair, said:

“Almost two years into the pandemic, and after tireless campaigning by the BMA, it is good to see that the Infection Prevention and Control guidance relating to Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) has been changed to reflect undeniable evidence that Covid-19 spreads through the air. For doctors and other healthcare staff working in hospitals, having access to safe RPE – such as FFP3 respirators - when they are caring for patients with confirmed or suspected Covid, offers them a level of protection that they should have had for nearly two years. We therefore call on hospital Trusts to ensure RPE is available and respirators are fit-tested as quickly as possible.

“Now that doctors and healthcare workers in hospitals will be wearing RPE it makes no sense that GP colleagues are still having to make do with ineffective surgical masks, often in small and cramped surgeries, particularly as we know that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible. Our own guidance advises GPs and practice staff to ensure that they wear FFP3 or FFP2 respirators depending on the level of risk identified in their risk assessment. We’ve also urged NHSEI to provide FFP2 respirators as default for all practice staff.

“With this change in guidance, we ask that, without delay, GPs and their staff have better access to safe and effective RPE through the newly announced national portal.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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.