FSRH statement: FSRH welcomes Government guidance on PPE including primary and community care

Posted 3 April 2020

Date: 03 Apr 2020

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health England and NHS England have published new guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff. The guidance recommends the safest level of PPE to protect staff and specifies the type of PPE that should be worn in the various healthcare settings where patients are cared for across the UK. It advises:

  • Any clinician working in a hospital, primary care or community care setting within two metres of a suspected or confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 patient should wear an apron, gloves, surgical mask and eye protection, based on the risk
  • In some circumstances PPE, particularly masks and eye protection which is there to protect the health and care worker can be worn for an entire session and doesn’t need to be changed between patients, as long as it is safe to do so.
  • When carrying out aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) clinicians should wear a higher level of protective equipment, listed in the guidance
  • Use of aprons rather than gowns for non-aerosol generating procedures, including advice on thoroughly washing forearms if there is a risk of exposure to droplets, consistent with the UK policy of bare below the elbows and evidence reviews on the risks of healthcare acquired infections.
  • WHO recommends the use of FFP2 masks, but the guidance recommends the use of FFP3 masks. However, the guidance is clear that FFP2 have been approved by the WHO and can be used safely if needed.

DHSC has also mobilised the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR). Providers who have an urgent requirement for PPE, which they are unable to secure through their business as usual channels, should contact the NSDR via the 24/7 helpline: 0800 915 9964. Healthcare professionals can read the update on plans to support access to PPE Equipment across the health and care system, including for independent providers such as abortion care services, here.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“We welcome the much-awaited guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE). With the coronavirus more widespread in the community, sexual and reproductive healthcare clinicians are more likely to see patients with the virus, some of whom may have minimal or no symptoms.

“Clinicians working in sexual and reproductive healthcare services are also being redeployed to respond to the covid-19 crisis. It is, therefore, crucial that sexual and reproductive healthcare clinicians are aware of the main changes to previous advice, including recommendations of extended use of some PPE items; re-usable PPE; and patient use of facemasks.

“The real challenge will be implementation. We welcome the introduction of a helpline for teams to procure urgent PPE, and we call on the Government to ensure the availability of PPE improves as a matter of urgency. This will protect NHS staff, so they can focus on saving lives.”


For further information please contact Camila Azevedo, FSRH External Affairs Manager, at cazevedo@fsrh.org / 07379408587

Notes to editors:

  • The guidance can be found here
  • The update on plans to support access to PPE Equipment across the health and care system can be found here
  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.