Public urged to keep wearing masks in healthcare settings

NHS Ayrshire and Arran is asking for people to continue wearing face masks when visiting healthcare settings and care homes.

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The public are being urged to continue wearing face masks when visiting or attending any healthcare settings such as hospitals or their GP practice.

With the requirements for the wearing of face masks now removed from law, NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s hospital and community services is asking for people’s continued cooperation to help protect themselves and others.

Arran currently has 28 confirmed cases of Covid-19 according to the latest official figures, well down from the numbers which had reached nearly 100 last month.

However, Joanne Edwards, director of acute services, said: ‘These last few years have been extremely difficult for everyone. While it is great that further restrictions have been lifted, Covid is still widely circulating in our communities. So we can’t be complacent.

‘Even though the guidance around face masks has changed across Scotland, you will still need to wear a face mask when on our premises, so that we can keep our patients and our staff safe.

‘For example, you should wear a mask when visiting loved ones in hospital; when coming along for outpatient appointments; and when attending our emergency departments.

‘Those in hospital are at their most vulnerable and it is vital that we keep them as safe as possible.

‘If you are entering any of our healthcare buildings, please remember to wear a face mask. If you don’t have your own mask, you can pick one up as you enter the building.

‘Make sure you wash your hands before and after putting on your mask, and use the alcohol hand gel located throughout regularly.

‘You should also take a test if you are visiting our hospitals, and please don’t visit if you have any Covid symptoms.’

LFT tests can be ordered online on the NHS Inform website or by calling 119.

In addition to wearing face masks in healthcare settings, members of the public are also asked to wear them when visiting care homes.

Craig McArthur, director of East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and lead for primary care, said: ‘We need to keep those using our primary care services safe. And so if you are attending a GP appointment, or are visiting the dentist, optician or community pharmacy, please remember to wear a face mask. This will help to keep you, other services users and our staff safe.

‘And if you are visiting a loved one in a care home, help us to keep them safe. Take a test before your visit; wear your mask; wash your hands regularly; and don’t visit if you have any symptoms.’

Meanwhile, the current visiting restrictions within NHS Ayrshire and Arran continue for the time being.

That is, each patient can have two designated visitors and up to two visits per day.

Designated visitors can visit together or separately and do not need to be from the same household.

All visits must still be pre-arranged to allow social distancing measures to be maintained and virtual visiting (video calling) will also be available at all sites.