Re-introduction of face coverings in clinical areas – October 2022

As we approach winter, the number of viral illnesses will start to increase, and cases of COVID-19, flu, and other general coughs and colds are already circulating. To minimise the impact of these illnesses, which can spread quickly in clinical environments, and to keep our colleagues, patients, and communities safe from infection, we are re-introducing the use of face coverings in clinical areas (including waiting areas) across the trust from Monday 10 October.

Where face coverings are required

Clinical settings (including waiting areas): All patients and visitors are asked to wear face coverings in areas where clinical care is provided, unless you are exempt.

Where face coverings are optional

Non-clinical areas: We are not re-introducing face coverings in non-clinical areas where care is not delivered, but we still support anyone who wishes to continue to wear masks in these defined areas.

What this means for:

Community Hospitals and Mental Health Units: If the entrance to the building goes directly into a waiting area, face coverings will be required on entry. This is the case for many of our community hospitals. Areas within each building may have areas where face coverings are optional, and there will be local notification in these areas.

Musgrove Park Hospital (MPH): If entering the hospital into a corridor area, face coverings will be optional. You will then need to put on a face covering at the entrance to any department, ward, waiting area or clinical area.

If entering directly into a clinical area, such as the emergency department, face coverings will need to be worn before entering.

Yeovil District Hospital (YDH): At the hospital there is a small reception area, with access to other areas from here. In this area face coverings will be optional. On leaving this area, if you are entering a clinical area, then a face covering should be worn.

Face coverings are not required when using a lift or the stairs to go from the entrance level. These areas are not well ventilated and on leaving the lifts and stairs, be aware you may be entering a clinical area. On leaving the lift or stair well, if you are not entering a clinical area, face coverings would be optional e.g. the Café, shops, or corridors to access other areas.

If entering the hospital directly into a clinical area, such as the emergency department, or outpatients, face coverings will need to be applied before entry.

Women’s Hospital, YDH: Face coverings will be required from the entrance to this building, as the entrance includes a waiting area.

Face coverings can include your own re-usable mask, but disposable surgical masks will also be available.

Our colleagues

All our NHS colleagues will be asked to wear a surgical face mask in clinical areas delivering care. The same optional rule applies for our colleagues when in non-clinical areas such as corridors or cafes.

Please help us to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses:

  • Do not visit or attend if you are unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19, diarrhoea and vomiting, or other infectious conditions
  • Clean your hands with provided gels or by handwashing
  • Let fresh air in and, where possible, maximise ventilation
  • Try to maintain good spacing and distance from others while using our services if you can
  • While face coverings are optional in some areas, if these areas are busy, face coverings would be advised
  • Help to keep our environment clean and tidy – wipes are available in all areas for wiping down surfaces, etc
  • Safely discard of disposable face coverings in the bins provided.

Thank you for all your support, and in helping us to keep everyone safe from infections and illness this winter.