All staff, visitors and outpatients are required to wear face masks or face coverings.

Guidance for staff
All staff must wear face masks and maintain a 2m distance at all times, unless:

  • you are in a room by yourself (if someone enters the room, you should put a face mask on)
  • you are eating or drinking (it should be put back on as soon as you have finished)

This includes all Covid-secure areas, whether you work in a clinical area or open plan office.

It also applies to break times.

Facemasks are available on entry to the hospital at the main entrances:

  • Main hospital entrance
  • Outpatients
  • Rosie Hospital
  • Addenbrookes Treatment Centre
  • Concourse (adjacent to Barclays Bank)

If you work in an area requiring specialist PPE, this will be available in your work area.

Where staff are able to work from home they should do so as far as possible and in agreement with their line manager.

Any member of staff who suffers from breathing difficulties (ie severe asthma or other lung conditions) and is worried about wearing a mask, must discuss this with their manager in the first instance.

If you have a reaction or experience irritation from a face mask please take the following action:

  • Immediately discontinue use of the face mask
  • Inform your line manager.
  • Contact occupational health for advice via ohschelp@addenbrookes.nhs.uk
  • Report on QSiS under the category: Work-related ill-health sub category: Sensitisation/hand dermatitis/allergy, and specify the exact mask being used.

Face masks help to prevent the spread and transmission of Covid-19, however, they are not a replacement for other preventative measures, such as social distancing, minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering and increasing hand and surface washing. These measures remain the best ways of managing the spread and transmission of Covid-19 in the workplace and therefore no ward or department should solely rely on the use of face masks as a preventative measure.

Introduction of FFP3 masks into Covid-19 red areas (from 22 December)

Staff working  on red wards with Covid-19 positive patients are currently wearing fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSM) and visors, unless an aerosol generating procedure (AGP) is being undertaken – in which case FFP3 masks are worn. This is in keeping with current Public Health England (PHE) guidance.

However, due to increased numbers of staff testing positive for Covid-19 on red wards and to further protect staff who have prolonged exposure to large numbers of Covid-19 positive patients, we have taken the decision as a Trust to require the use of FFP3 masks instead of FRSM for all tasks involving patient contact on these red wards (currently D10, C6 and EAU5). This is defined as scenario 1+ PPE.

PHE still consider FRSM to be an appropriate level of PPE, so amber areas and areas where patients are awaiting swab results should continue to wear FRSM (scenarios 0+ or 1).

The effects of this change in PPE will be monitored closely and any further changes will be notified to staff immediately.

In order to facilitate this change, staff on these red wards will who are not currently fit tested to an available FFP3 mask or are not hood-trained will need to book to be fit tested.  Please email MaskFitTesting@addenbrookes.nhs.uk as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.

All outpatients, shielded patients and visitors will be required to wear a face covering or medical grade face mask. (See more details further down).

The wearing of face masks has been brought in based on evidence that:

  • people who work in a hospital environment are more likely to catch coronavirus whether they work in a clinical setting or not.
  • face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission if you are suffering from coronavirus including those who are not showing symptoms.

Advice for non-clinical staff
It is expected non-clinical staff will need a minimum of three face masks a day to allow for changing at mealtimes and refreshment breaks.

Your manager will inform you of where to collect further face masks to use throughout your day.

Please wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting your face mask on and after taking it off. It is important that you do not touch your face when wearing the mask to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus. If the front of the mask is touched for any reason, hand hygiene should be performed immediately.

Advice for clinical staff
Clinical staff, or any staff entering clinical areas, are required to wear the appropriate respiratory protective equipment (RPE) at all times.

If the medical grade mask you were provided with at the entrance is appropriate for this, you will be able to keep the same mask on, provided it was donned in accordance with existing infection prevention practice.

Under no circumstances should anyone leave a clinical area wearing a mask that was used within a clinical area. It should be disposed of in the clinical waste bins provided. This does not include transit through the hospital whilst accompanying a patient.

Staff working in clinical areas, even in offices alone, should wear a mask at all times.

Valved FFP3 masks in sterile procedures

There has been an issue raised in the new national infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance from Public Health England (21 January 2021) regarding the use of valved FFP3 masks in sterile procedures.

This has been reviewed by the infection control bronze group and discussed with the regional IPC lead for NHSE/I.

Please do not use the FFP3 valved mask whilst undertaking a sterile procedure. If you are unable to use an alternative mask there is the option of the reusable JSP masks or hoods.

Eating meals
You should continue to maintain social/physical distancing measures while in hospital restaurants or staff rooms.

If eating/drinking, you should remove your mask and dispose of it in the designated bins provided. Do not place the face mask on dining tables or nearby surfaces. Once you have finished eating/drinking you should put on a new facemask to return to your clinical area or workplace. Secure supplies of facemasks and alcohol hand rub will be made available in the staff canteen.

Disposal of masks
All medical grade face masks should be safely disposed of in the bins provided in clinical areas (for clinical staff) and in the main entrances and staff canteen.

General advice
Please read the FAQs here.

Visitors and outpatients wearing face masks
From Monday 15 June all outpatients and visitors will be required to wear a face covering inside the hospital premises.

These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

If anyone arrives at the hospital without a face covering, a medical grade face mask will be provided in emergencies.

These can be collected everyday from the following hospital entrances:

  • Addenbrooke’s main entrance (06:00-22:00)
  • Rosie main entrance (06:00-20:00)
  • ATC (06:00-20:00)
  • Outpatients (08:00-18:00)
  • Medical grade face masks will continue to be handed out to each patient who comes into ED.

Patients who are shielding, and have been provided with a surgical facemask for their appointments, should ensure these are worn. Where not already provided, patients should wear a face covering and they will be offered a medical grade face mask on arrival at their clinic.

Patients and visitors should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off.

It is important that, wherever possible, people don’t touch their face covering when wearing it to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.

Please note that non medical, or cloth face masks are only effective when used alongside other preventative measures such as:

  • Social distancing – keeping two metres apart
  • Regular hand washing
  • Avoiding touching your face
  • Respiratory hygiene – using a disposable tissue if you sneeze, or coughing into your elbow
  • Cleaning surfaces regularly.

The expectation is that all patients will wear a face covering, or a face mask, with the exception of pre-school children, older children who are distressed, labouring mothers, people with a learning disability and people with clinical reasons not to wear a mask. There will be a degree of judgement required from local areas on the suitability of wearing a face covering for their patient group.

There is no change to the use of masks for inpatients and we are continuing with the existing protocols as previously agreed. Clinical areas will be familiar with what these are for their local areas.

All medical grade face masks should be safely disposed of in the bins provided in the main entrances.

Further mask use instructions are available here.

Additional guidance for face mask implementation for staff can be found here.