Continuing to work safely through COVID-19: isolation periods, AGP’s and PPE

PPE characters - Three man in different levels of PPE

As we continue working through this pandemic it is important to remain working safely, in line with current government legislation and guidance.

We have achieved a lot so far, including a very large quantity of us being vaccinated and the implementation of safe working practices. We are now seeing an expected rise in community cases, which subsequently increases risk. It is therefore as important as ever that we remain vigilant and utilise all available measures to reduce further transmission.

The COVID-19 Leads and IPC Team would like to remind all staff of the requirements around self-isolation, whether this is due to a breach of PPE requirements or due to an NHS Test and Trace call while using the Test and Trace app.

If you are contacted through the NHS Test and Trace app to stand down due to a positive contact and this is while at work, the Trust can challenge this with Test and Trace and this can be overturned in some cases if PPE compliance while in the workplace. However, if it is a public contact i.e. in a supermarket then this cannot be challenged and a 10 day stand down period is mandatory. To avoid receiving a notification unnecessarily, please pause the app whilst in the workplace.

If you are required to stand down from work because of a PPE breach or from the Test and Trace app you need to self-isolate at your home address, the only exception to this rule is if you are travelling to get a PCR test or medical treatment is required.

If the stand down is due to a PPE breach and the patient concerned has had a PCR test done at the receiving hospital which proves to be a negative test, then the staff member will be returned to normal duties. This is not always possible in which case then the 10-day self-isolation period will apply.

It is important to note that the PPE levels required, i.e level 2 minimum for all patient care, level 3 for AGPs and masks whilst on stations, are still in place. COVID related guidance and PPE instructions can be found HERE.

We remind you that the vaccines can reduce the likelihood but do not guarantee you will not acquire COVID-19. If you do, however, the symptoms should be reduced in the majority of cases and further transmission should also be reduced.  PPE requirements still need to be followed in the workplace and when dealing with patients at all times. We must use all available measures to minimise risk. Each additional measure including PPE, testing, vaccines, distancing, isolation, decontamination, temperature checks, hand hygiene and others must be applied collectively to reduce the risk level for yourselves, colleagues and families.

Published Friday 25 June