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September 2020

Update on PPE use

Public Health England has updated its guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for general practice staff providing vaccinations.

It states that where contact with individuals is minimal, the need for single use PPE items, e.g. gloves and aprons, is not necessary for each encounter. Gloves and aprons are recommended when there is anticipated exposure to blood or bodily fluids, or non-intact skin.

However, staff administering vaccinations and other injections must apply hand hygiene between patients and wear a facemask for each session.

The guidance restates the advice for general practice to use virtual consultation methods where possible, and where a face to face consultation is deemed necessary, for patients to wear a mask or face covering at all times – and be asked not to attend if they have symptoms.

It also reminds health and social care staff with symptoms of COVID-19 not to come to work. Staff who are at risk or pregnant should work away from areas used for the care of those who have, or are clinically suspected of having, COVID-19.

Updated guidance from the Association for Respiratory Technology & Physiology (ARTP) continues to recommend that respiratory function tests such as spirometry should only be undertaken when they will definitively inform or change a patient’s management – i.e. there is a ‘need to know’ not ‘nice to know’.

Practice Nurse 2020;50(7):7