Nurses may have wider access to higher-grade respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from Covid-19, following changing national guidance.
A updated government documentt, published on Tuesday, stated that respiratory PPEs, such as FFP3 masks, should no longer be restricted to staff in areas where there are aerosol -generating procedures (AGPs).
“This instruction fails to take into account the voices of those forced to work unprotected”
However, organizations should conduct risk assessments and if an “unacceptable risk of carrying” Covid-19 remains, the use of respiratory PPE should be considered.
After months of criticism from leading health unions calling for better protection for staff, especially the many contaminated different Covid-19.
However, the Royal College of Nursing said the update did not come well enough and failed to use the “precautionary approach” they called for.
The instruction, which applies to all aspects of health and social care in the UK excluding social care in England with separate instruction, continues to recommend the use of higher grade PPE if do or if AGPs are likely to occur.
But it added that in order to “ensure maximum risk reduction in the workplace”, organizations need to conduct local risk assessments based on measures specified under the hierarchy of control – a system. used to reduce or eliminate exposure to hazards.
“If an unacceptable shipping risk remains adhering to this risk assessment, it may be necessary to consider the extended use of [respiratory protective equipment] for patient care in specific situations, “according to the document, simultaneously issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland, National Services Scotland, Public Health England and NHS England.
It stated that risk assessments should examine ventilation and the spread of infection and new species of concern in the area.
But it was also confirmed that the guidance changes were made after a clinical and scientific review, and were not in response to any new variant.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Pat Cullen said the latest guidance still focuses on “excessive aerosol-generating methods as a major hazard and precautionary measures have not been reached. we support it. “
He added that staff in community settings, care homes and other settings outside the NHS “are underestimated and remain unsure of what is best to protect themselves”.
“We can’t allow the virus to spread any time if we have a way to prevent it”
“As we see new different concerns emerge, we continue to demand FFP3 masks that are made more usable and increased levels of ventilation as a standardized approach,” he added, adding that pointed out that this is in line with the approach from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
“Along with many other organizations, we have always urged the health secretary and prime minister to provide greater protection for all care staff,” Ms Cullen said.
“However, its teaching fails to properly account for the voices of those forced to work without protection at the onset of the pandemic and acting on the lessons.”
Even if he welcomed the advice for a risk assessment of the control hierarchy, he said there should be “enough support and training for those on the front line to implement it effectively.”
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association (BMA), which is also calling for a change in PPE guidance, said the update was a “step in the right direction”.
BMA council chief Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the latest guidance “states the legal obligations to implement proper risk assessments and implement specific measures to manage risks”.
“Krucal, it recommends that respiratory PPEs (such as FFP3 masks) should be considered where the threat from Covid transmission remains high, and should not be limited to areas where AGPs are present,” added Dr. Nagpaul.
“This means increasing their use of staff so that exposure to airborne particles from a patient is not minimized, and that the risk of contracting Covid is therefore not less than that of those participating in procedures classified as AGPs. “
However, he warned that “it is important that frontline workers should be given stronger guarantees with appropriate PPE” – rather than just surgical masks.
“With the new species being more recognizable and more resistant to vaccines, we will not allow the virus to spread any time if we have a way to prevent it,” Dr Nagpaul added.
He urged employers to “look at this instruction and implement it locally, protect staff, and in doing so, protect patients and minimize the greater impact on health services”.