Speaking at a press briefing on Monday (July 12), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government will stick to its plan to lift social distancing and “legal restrictions” from July 19, although it recommends that people continue wearing a face covering “in crowded and enclosed spaces”.
However, in a statement published today (July 15) NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) chief nursing officer Ruth May said that “face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings", including pharmacies.
“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care,” Ms May added.
She said that “it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients”.
“Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules” as well, NHSE&I specified.
C+D has asked NHSE&I if today’s position statement will be followed by specific guidance for pharmacies, and whether pharmacies will be allowed to refuse entrance to their premises to those who are not wearing a face covering.
NHSE&I’s clarification comes as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and other healthcare bodies wrote to Mr Johnson yesterday (July 14), urging for compulsory mask wearing to stay.
RPS England chair Thorrun Govind started campaigning for patients and staff to continue wearing face masks after the COVID-19 restrictions are loosened last week (July 6).