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Covid-19 Patients refusing to wear face coverings

We have been asked on a number of occasions if practices can refuse to see patients that will not wear a face covering in a face-to-face consultation.

You cannot refuse to see someone on the basis that they refuse to wear a face covering.

However, there are factors that you can control:

Viral exposure seems to depend on ventilation, occupancy, and exposure time - https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3223 - this article is an interesting read.

It is reasonable for the practice to alter some of these other factors which may result in an appointment that is less convenient for the patient, but  this needs to be balanced against the increased risks to staff and other patients that are associated with not wearing a mask.

 

The PC Webinar of 28th Jan 2021 also revisited this issue and had this to say: -

Seeing patients who are not wearing face coverings
The safety of both our staff and our patients is of paramount importance and face coverings or face masks should be worn by patients in a practice setting, in line with government guidance.
However, not all patients are able to wear a face covering and a patient should not be refused access to care if they are unable to, or refuse to, wear a covering. For these patients, practices should ensure that they can take all reasonable steps to identify practical working solutions with the least risk to all involved.
For example: offering the patient a mask, if the patient is able to wear one;

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Updated on Friday, 25 June 2021 857 views