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Free PPE for nurses will continue until March 2023

NHS and social care staff will continue to be given PPE, as RCN says nurses should never again be forced to buy their own or rely on donations
Nurse dons PPE, which will still be provided free in England

FFP3 masks will still be free to nursing staff who directly care for patients with COVID-19, but provision of higher-grade protection should be widened, insists RCN

Nurses and other front-line healthcare staff will continue to receive free personal protective equipment (PPE) until next year.

The government announced it would extend the free provision in England’s NHS acute trusts, primary care and adult social care until March 2023 following public consultation.

‘We must not return to nurses having to buy their own PPE’

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control Rose Gallagher said the news will come as a relief to nurses worried they ‘would be left exposed’.

‘We can never see a

FFP3 masks will still be free to nursing staff who directly care for patients with COVID-19, but provision of higher-grade protection should be widened, insists RCN

Nurse dons PPE, which will still be provided free in England
Picture: Alamy

Nurses and other front-line healthcare staff will continue to receive free personal protective equipment (PPE) until next year.

The government announced it would extend the free provision in England’s NHS acute trusts, primary care and adult social care until March 2023 following public consultation.

‘We must not return to nurses having to buy their own PPE’

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control Rose Gallagher said the news will come as a relief to nurses worried they ‘would be left exposed’.

‘We can never see a return to the days when some nursing staff were buying their own PPE, relying on donations or worse. As long as this pandemic continues, accessing high-quality protection must be as simple as possible for our members,’ she said.

‘Now the government has acknowledged the need for accessible PPE, we implore ministers to go one step further and make sure every precaution to keep staff safe is taken including providing FFP3 masks for all who require them.’

FFP3 masks – does the guidance give nurses adequate protection?

The FFP3 mask Picture: iStock

Government guidance states FFP3 masks or equivalent must be worn when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed airborne infections.

But the RCN argues, given airborne transmission, many health and care staff not in direct contact with infected patients are still at risk of contracting the virus, and so should be provided with FFP3 masks too.

Research from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found use of FFP3 respirators – rather than standard fluid-resistant surgical masks – to front-line staff on COVID-19 wards all but eliminated incidence of staff coronavirus infection.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The safety of the NHS and social care staff has always been our top priority and we continue to deliver PPE to protect those on the front line, including FFP3 masks.’


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