All patients attending GP surgeries across Dudley will be asked to wear face coverings from this week.
It is now compulsory to wear face coverings on public transport and in hospitals in England.
To protect patients and NHS staff, Dudley GP practices are to follow suit by urging patients to provide, and wear their own face coverings in surgeries, as well as continuing to follow handwashing and social distancing guidelines. As per government guidance, exemptions apply to very young children, disabled patients and those with breathing difficulties.
Dr David Hegarty, Dudley CCG Chair, said: â€œWe know it is possible to pass on coronavirus when you donâ€™t have any symptoms. Face-coverings may help to protect those near you from the virus, as my mask will help to protect you and your mask will help to protect me. Face coverings are not a substitute for hand-washing or social distancing, but they are additional measure in the fight against coronavirus, to protect ourselves and our loved ones.â€
â€œWe feel this step is necessary to protect our patients and ensure we have a clear and consistent approach across Dudley. We encourage any patients with questions or concerns to get in touch with your local practice.â€
Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) supports face coverings as a means of reducing coronavirus transmission through droplet spread especially for those infected with coronavirus but not showing any symptoms.
The British Medical Association has also called for the extension of the wearing of face coverings to all â€˜health, community and social care settingsâ€™.
You can find out how to wear and make a low-cost face covering, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering