HCSA will today lobby government officials alongside more than 20 healthcare organisations to call for better PPE protection for staff caring for Covid-19 patients.
Current guidance recommends only fluid resistant surgical masks for most health and care staff, but these are not designed to prevent airborne transmission in aerosol form – leaving thousands vulnerable to infection.
The meeting with Government officials this afternoon will be a chance to appeal for all staff dealing with Covid-19 patients to be issued with FFP3 masks specifically designed to protect against infectious aerosols.
Dr Claudia Paoloni, President of HCSA, said:
“Current PPE is woefully inadequate and we have been calling for a higher standard of equipment since the start of the pandemic.
"The Covid-19 virus is airborne and regular surgical masks do not provide the best level of protection for our precious resource, the staff. Patient facing staff require FFP3 as standard.
"We are now in a precarious position with new variants of the virus, but existing rules still leave staff vulnerable to infection. Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. It is imperative we do everything we can do protect our healthcare workers.
"We welcome the meeting today with Government PPE/IPC Guidance stakeholders to emphasise the need for change.”
Other delegates include the Royal College of Nursing, GMB Union and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy.
Concerns were first raised with Public Health England more than a year ago.
Recent statements from the government’s own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the World Health Organisation all recognise the role of airborne transmission, yet UK guidance only recommends the use of higher grade FFP3 respiratory mask for a limited range of procedures.
It is hoped that more effective FFP3 surgical masks, similar to the N95 respirators used in the United States, will be introduced across all UK health settings.