Patients and visitors – frequently asked questions
Why are you asking visitors/patients to wear face coverings?
Patients and visitors coming to general practice services in Lancashire and South Cumbria will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus to others. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it
Patients and visitors are advised to bring a face covering ahead of coming to appointments in general practice.
The use of face coverings in GP practices is a local decision to help protect public and staff and is not national PHE guidance.
What happens if a patient/visitor does not have a face covering when they come to a GP surgery?
If a patient or visitor does not have a face covering, a mask will be provided on arrival.
What does this mean for shielding patients?
For those patients who are currently shielding, and who have been provided with a surgical face mask for their appointments, these should be worn. Where not already provided, patients should wear a face covering.
What about cloth/homemade/donated face masks?
Patient and visitor face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade (www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering). All visitors will be expected to comply with social/physical distancing and the recommended hand hygiene measures.
Does my face covering worn for religious beliefs/cultural practice qualify?
Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.
What if a patient/visitor is unable to wear a face covering?
Wearing a face covering may be difficult for some people due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example, timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.
What if I am deaf or hard of hearing?
We understand that the use of face masks by clinical staff can be challenging for patients who are deaf or hearing impaired. Where possible, clear masks will be used by clinical staff to communicate with these patients, or alternative communication techniques employed such as the use of visual aids like writing things down, speech to text apps, and sign language.