NHS visitors still need to wear a facemask

Healthcare settings need patients to keep following rules to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Photo of man in face mask

People still have to wear facemasks when visiting NHS services like hospitals and GPs, following the change in national Covid rules.

Legal restrictions that had required people to wear facemasks in certain settings were lifted on 19 July 2021. However, the chief nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Eammon Sullivan, said in a video message: “In hospitals, the situation is different. Across the NHS in England, visitors and our staff will still have to wear masks, will still have to socially distance in order to protect our patients, our staff and members of our community. So unless you’re exempt, you will be required to wear a mask in hospital…”

Guidance for the public

For any visits to a GP, hospital, dentist, pharmacy or any other NHS service:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Socially distance (keep 2 metres apart where possible)
  • Keep your hands clean with your own sanitiser or provided gel
  • Check visiting rules beforehand if you want to see an inpatient

Visiting restrictions at the Royal Berkshire Hospital – currently only allowing one per patient or at the discretion of ward staff – will stay in place for now but be reviewed in due course.

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Prospect Park Hospital in Reading - also said infection control rules and visiting restrictions would also remain in place.

GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies will also be following national Public Health England guidance on reducing the spread of Covid-9, said Berkshire West Clinical Comissioning Group.

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