17 April 2023
New Guidelines for Patients Regarding Mask Wearing
The HSE HPSC (Health Protection Surveillance Centre) has recently changed the national advice about mask wearing in healthcare settings. In line with this advice, patients who do not have respiratory / Covid-19 symptoms will no longer be required to wear a mask while in the practice or during your consultation with the GP or Practice Nurse. Any patient who wishes to wear a mask, and feels more comfortable doing so, can wear a mask. Masks are also optional for healthcare staff, both clinical and admin.
Note: Any patient with respiratory symptoms MUST wear a mask at all times while in the practice.
What this means for your appointment:
- When you are calling to make an appointment with the GP or Practice Nurse, we will continue to ask all patients if you have any flu-like, Covid-19 or respiratory symptoms. Please tell the Receptionist if you have any flu-like or respiratory symptoms including a cough, fever (high temperature), shortness of breath, chest infection symptoms, change to taste or smell etc.
- If you do not have any respiratory / Covid-19 symptoms, we will make an appointment for you at the next available time.
- When you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked again during check-in if you have any respiratory / Covid-19 symptoms to ensure that nothing has changed. If you have no relevant symptoms, you can enter the surgery and no longer need to wear a mask in the Waiting Room or during your consultation. You can still choose to wear a mask if you want to, and the GP or Practice Nurse may continue to wear a mask.
Patients with flu-like / respiratory symptoms
- If you do have respiratory / Covid-19 symptoms when you call to make your appointment, you will be asked to do an antigen test to ensure you are not Covid positive. If your antigen test is negative, you can attend the practice for your appointment. If you have a positive antigen test, please follow the advice here about self-isolation and call us to reschedule your appointment.
- If you have respiratory symptoms, and a negative antigen test, you will be asked to wear a mask for your appointment and will be asked to wait outside after you check-in until the GP or Practice Nurse calls you. This is to help protect other patients and staff from any potential spread of illness.
- If you have respiratory symptoms, the GP or Practice Nurse will also wear a mask during your consultation.
As we all get used to this new approach to healthcare, with masks for respiratory symptoms only, we ask that you respect these guidelines and wear a mask when requested to do so. Masks are proven to reduce the spread and transmission of viral illnesses including Covid-19 and help to protect patients and staff from these illnesses. Covid-19 can still be a serious illness for vulnerable patients and can result in staff absence and reduced healthcare services.
We look forward to seeing everyone’s face again and hope to see the smiles that have been hidden behind masks for the last number of years!