Masks had previously been required in all areas of the NHS trust’s three sites – Sutton’s King’s Mill, Mansfield Community and Newark hospitals – since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 to protect staff, patients and visitors from Covid-19.
However, from just after midnight tonight – from Tuesday, June 14 at 12.01am – the trust said masks will only be needed in designated ‘high-risk’ areas, including the intensive care and neonatal intensive care units, theatres and other areas where vulnerable patients are treated.
Phil Bolton, trust chief nurse, said: “Face masks have played a huge part in our efforts to protect many of our most vulnerable staff, patients and visitors from Covid-19 and it’s important that continues in some ‘high risk’ areas of our hospitals.
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“While we are now in a position to be able to cautiously step-down the need to wear face masks in most areas of our hospitals, Covid-19 is still with us and we are continuing to treat dozens of patients with Covid-19 in our hospitals each and every day.
“We will make clear which areas of our hospitals you need to wear a mask in when you visit our hospitals and our message is clear: if you’re asked, please wear a mask.”
Red, amber and green signage will be placed across the trust’s sites to make clear where staff, patients and visitors still need to wear a mask in ‘high-risk’ areas, while trust staff may also patients and visitors to wear masks in other clinical areas, including when a patient has suspected or confirmed Covid, or another respiratory infection.
Despite stepping-down the need to wear a mask in most areas, the trust said it will continue to make masks available for anyone who wishes to wear one.
Mr Bolton said: “We know tht these changes will be welcomed by many, but also know they will be the cause of a great deal of anxiety for some of our staff, patients and visitors.
“We will continue to invite anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to do so if they wish and ask that people ‘be kind’ to others who choose to wear one, whatever their reasons for doing so.”