Gloves and aprons should instead be worn “when there is (anticipated) exposure to blood/body fluids or non-intact skin”, according to the Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings, which was updated last week (August 21).
Pharmacists must wear a sessional fluid-resistant type IIR facemask and “apply hand hygiene between patients” during vaccinations/injection clinics, the guidance said.
The updated guidance was issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DH), Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland/National Services Scotland, Public Health England and NHS England.
“Sessional use of single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) items has been minimised and only applies to extended use of facemasks for healthcare workers,” according to the public health bodies.
Use face masks
The updated guidance – which replaces previous guidance issued on June 18 – continues to recommend the use of face masks for staff “in addition to social distancing and hand hygiene”.
“Physical distancing of two metres is considered standard practice in all health and care settings”, the UK health bodies added in the guidance.
Pharmacy teams should continue to wear a type IIR face mask on a sessional basis when working in an area with possible or confirmed COVID-19 cases, where it is not possible to maintain the two-metre distance.
A type I or type II face mask – or type IIR face mask should those two be unavailable – should be worn when staff working in the pharmacy cannot maintain social distance from one another all the time, according to the guidance.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said yesterday (August 24) that it is in discussion with the DH and NHS England and Improvement on reimbursement for the costs of PPE incurred by pharmacies, “including the PPE used when providing the flu vaccination advanced service”.
In June, PSNC told contractors they should “assume” that wearing a fluid-resistant surgical mask will be “a minimum requirement” for delivering the flu service this season.
What are the objectives for this year’s flu vaccination service, given the COVID-19 outbreak? Read our CPD module on the topic to find out more.