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Trust scheme to support patients unable to wear face coverings

This article is more than one year old.

This article is from 10 February 2021 - the situation may change with time.

It is a requirement for all outpatients, carers and visitors to wear face coverings in hospitals.

Staff are required to wear face masks, and inpatients should do so too, if they are able to.

The requirements are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, the Trust recognises that not everyone is able to wear a face covering, and has sought to help those people who live with disabilities, hidden or otherwise, who are not able to wear a face mask by making mask exemption stickers available to them.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer, said:

"We would always recommend that anyone who is able to wear a face covering should wear one - and preferably a face mask. That is the best situation for your own safety and that of others. But we know that not everyone is able to do so, and we wanted to support those who are not able to."

Melanie Wilkinson, from Carers Oxfordshire, said:

"We are pleased to support OUH with this great initiative. It will make life much easier for carers visiting the hospital with their loved ones who are unable to wear a mask."

The Trust has produced a single-use mask exemption sticker to help support our patients, carers and any visitors who have a disability and are not able to wear a mask.

Stickers are available at the main reception desks at all four hospital sites. If patients or their carers let the department know before their arrival on site, they can be directed to the nearest source for a sticker.

Who are the stickers for?

Stickers are only for patients, carers and any visitors who have hidden disabilities and are not able to wear a mask.

Government guidance indicates that mask exemption is possible for people:

  • who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability;
  • for whom putting on, wearing, or removing a face mask will cause severe distress.

Staff are required to wear masks on site and if they are unable to do so are not able to work on site.

Pregnant women attending antenatal or postnatal appointments are expected to wear face coverings, but there is different guidance for women in labour.

Children are exempt from wearing face coverings if they are under the age of 11.