Face mask rule change at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has announced that visitors are no longer required to wear face coverings following a major change in national guidelines, but there will still be some exceptions. NHS England has highlighted new infection control guidelines – set out by the UK Health Security Agency – in a letter to all local health bodies.

However, each hospital is free to write its own policies on whether or not to wear face coverings. The RD&E announced yesterday June 15 that it had made changes to its rules on face masks with “immediate effect”.

On its website, it says: “Following changes to national guidelines, the policy and guidelines for face masks in our hospital settings are largely the same as before the pandemic, with some important exceptions. visitors are not routinely required to wear face coverings unless it is their personal preference, exceptions to this rule are as follows:

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  • In settings (inpatient or outpatient) where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression, e.g. oncology/hematology and nephrology wards, visitors will be asked to wear a face mask, unless s are medically exempt.
  • Visitors and people accompanying patients in the ER and admissions areas will continue to be encouraged to wear face coverings
  • Visitors will be asked to wear a surgical mask if visiting a high risk area or a suspected/known patient of COVID-19.

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“If you are deaf or hard of hearing, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure they can communicate effectively with you. This may include visual aids such as writing, text-to-speech applications and sign language.

“We understand that for some people wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health issues, and those people will remain exempt.”

Torbay Hospital and North Devon District Hospital have also confirmed that visitors are no longer required to wear face coverings in the majority of cases. Updated national guidance from NHS England and Improvement this week comes in light of the continued low numbers of Covid-19 in hospitals and the community.

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