Use of facemasks stepped-down across Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust including Newark Hospital
Facemasks will no longer need to be worn in most areas of a trust's hospitals, including Newark.
Masks had previously been required in all areas of Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust's three sites since the start of the pandemic to protect staff, patients and visitors from covid-19.
Now, members of the public won't need to wear one in most areas of Newark Hospital, King's Mill and Mansfield Community Hospital.
Under the new guidance, facemasks will only be needed in designated ‘high risk’ areas including the trust’s intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, theatres and other areas where its most vulnerable patients are treated.
Trust staff may also ask that patients and visitors wear facemasks in other clinical areas, including when a patient has suspected or confirmed covid-19 or another respiratory infection, a patient is immuno-compromised or following an outbreak of respiratory infections within the hospitals.
Phil Bolton, chief nurse for Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Facemasks have played a huge part in our efforts to protect many of our most vulnerable staff, patients and visitors from covid-19 — and it’s important that continues in some ‘high risk’ areas of our hospitals.
“While we are now in a position to be able to cautiously step-down the need to wear facemasks in most areas of our hospitals, covid-19 is still with us and we are continuing to treat dozens of patients with covid-19 in our hospitals each and every day.
“We will make clear which areas of our hospitals you need to wear a mask in when you visit our hospitals and our message is clear: if you’re asked, please wear a mask.”
Red, amber and green signage will be placed across the trust’s sites to make clear where staff, patients and visitors still need to wear a mask in designated ‘high risk’ areas.
Despite stepping down the need to wear a mask in most areas, the trust will continue to make facemasks available at mask stations throughout its hospitals for anyone who wishes to wear one.
“We know that these changes will be welcomed by many, but we also know they will be the cause of a great deal of anxiety for some of our staff, patients and visitors,” the trust’s chief nurse added.
“We will continue to invite anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to do so if they wish — and we ask that people ‘be kind’ to others who choose to wear one, whatever their reasons for doing so may be.”
The trust’s current policy on visiting arrangements remains unchanged. Staff, patients and visitors are also still required to social distance to one metre in non-clinical and outpatient areas and two metres on wards.
The trust will keep its facemask, visiting and social distancing requirements under review to assess the impact of these changes on staff absence rates and the number of covid outbreaks within the trust.