Moving to Green - Information and latest guidance
You will have seen that our Insurers (FODO) have announced that The College of Optometrists has confirmed that health systems across the UK support moving to the College’s ‘Green’ phase from Tuesday 10th May. We have put together a useful fact sheet, which sign posts back to the resources and includes headlines on how these changes will affect the way you currently operate your practice, against the previous COVID measures.
The latest guidance released on the 1st June includes an update on mask wearing
The UKHSA signposts readers to NHS England’s National IPC guidance. This means that:
Universal masking can stop. The College of Optometrists has confirmed that “asymptomatic non-clinicalstaff, patients and visitors are no longer required to wear a face-covering when in the practice.”
However, the College advises that some team members should continue to use a fluid-resistant surgical face mask (FRSM) in certain circumstances. Read the full College advice.
In Wales, guidance means mask-wearing advice is the same as in England.
NEW - Face Masks in Primary Care Optometry - 20th June 2022
The College of Optometrists guidance for professional practice Section 39B sets out when a fluid resistant face mask should now be worn. This video summarises the guidance in practical terms – it’s a quick watch!
To recap, face masks to not need to be worn generally but you should use a dynamic risk assessment to determine whether a mask should be worn. Dynamic Risk Assessment means “The continuous process of identifying hazards, assessing risk, taking action to eliminate or reduce risk, monitoring and reviewing, in the rapidly changing circumstances of an operational incident”. Here’s a short video to explain how to do this.
You should consider:
Fluid Resistant Face Mask (FRFM) should be worn where:
You are in close proximity to the patients and / or ventilation is restricted. This includes:
Foreign body removal
Slit lamps without breath shields
There is a risk of respiratory infection (determined as part of pre screening ahead of the px arriving in the practice)
there is a public health requirement (not currently the case)
Face masks would not normally be worn for:
Case history taking at a reasonable distance
Dispensing including fitting of spectacles in a dispensing area
Pre screening tests such as non-contact tonometry, fields, OCT/fundus, autorefraction
However, if you have conducted a personal risk assessment and / or choose to wear a mask for personal reasons, you should of course chose to wear a FRFM for these procedures.