Elective care services told to ‘remove’ some Covid-19 IPC measures

The new instruction suggests some of the improved infection prevention and control measures introduced after Covid-19 within elective care services may now begin to be eliminated.

But the most recent guidelines state that staff working in areas where Covid-19 prevention measures are at rest must be fully vaccinated, even if it is unclear whether staff are refusing the Covid vaccine. -19 which will later be placed as well or not.

“This is the first step to help the NHS treat more patients more easily”

Jenny Harries

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has now recommended three changes that hospitals can make in relation to their IPC measures, with a specific focus on elective care.

The government agency is a new organization for preparing for, preventing and responding to health threats in the country and has been in place since April 2021. It has partially replaced Public Health England.

Among the most recent recommendations, it has been suggested that body distance can be reduced from two meters to one, according to instruction from the World Health Organization.

The UKHSA says it applies where “patient access can be controlled”, meaning, for example, that this rule does not apply to accident and emergency departments.

In addition, the need for a negative PCR test and three days of self -isolation for patients prior to the chosen method of choice may also be eliminated, according to the recommendations.

They stated that “selected patients in the high-risk groups, who were fully vaccinated, asymptomatic, who had a negative lateral flow test on the day of their procedure no longer needed to have a negative PCR and were isolated. in three days “.

However, patients identified in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 should have a PCR test.

The third recommendation suggests that improved cleaning “can be stopped in agreed-upon hazardous areas”, including scheduled selective care.

Providers can, therefore, be able to return to “traditional cleaning practices among patients” in these areas, the UKHSA said.

The agency said the change in advice will come as the majority of the population is vaccinated against Covid-19 and will follow further understanding of how the infection is carried and can be prevented.

It stated that, in areas where Covid-19 IPC measures relax, staff “should be fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and not in contact in a positive case”.

Staff should continue to adhere to current asymptomatic testing guidelines, it added.

If asked by Watch Hours if the change in instruction means staff refusing the Covid-19 jab to be transferred to work, the agency said it could be “an operational issue” and “one for the NHS to consider”.

However, when asked by NHS England about a possible increase in employment, the national body said it was a matter for the Department of Health and Social Care.

It comes amid government consultancy on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for “frontline” NHS staff, and follows the introduction of a new law for social care staff. should be vaccinated as a condition of deployment.

Recently, there have been concerns about changing the job of nurses to non-patients facing duties when they are denied the Covid-19 jab, as previously reported by Watch Hours.

The advice provided by the UKHSA today should be used by local acute care providers to initiate “safe changes” to services, in line with local risk assessments.

The body said it hoped to reduce the measures “to help ease the pandemic pressure on NHS capacity in the next few months”.

UKHSA chief executive, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “We reviewed the existing Covid-19 IPC evidence-based instruction and made a series of initial pragmatic recommendations on how local providers begin to safely retrieve some achievements that are in the area of ​​elective care specific for Covid-19.

“This is the first step to help the NHS treat more patients more quickly, while ensuring their safety and balancing their different needs for care.”

Meanwhile, health and health care secretary Sajid Javid says: the burden of hard-working NHS staff has been eased. “

He thanked the agency for its recommendations and said he looked forward to “them examining what further steps could be taken in other healthcare settings including primary care”.

The UKHSA said further changes to other services such as ambulance trust, were “planned in future steps”.

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