11 June 2021

GPs should now have access to fit-testing

Political TheHill

The Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) has responded to recommendations provided by the National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce (NCCET) and updated its advice on PPE for frontline health workers.

All healthcare workers providing direct patient care or working within the “patient/client/resident zone” for individuals with suspected or confirmed covid should now have access to fit-tested P2/N95 respirators.

As TMR understands, this means all GPs should now have access to fit-testing.

When working in a setting with high risk, ICEG now categorically recommends respirators over surgical masks, even if the respirator has not been fit-tested.

In terms of defining a high-risk setting in primary care, an example provided by NCCET suggests that the local area being a covid hotspot qualified.

“Prolonged GP consultation in a poorly ventilated room with a distraught pregnant mother, an infant and two children under 4, one of whom has visible rhinorrhoea in an area of high community prevalence/transmission [is a high risk setting],” NCCET said on their website.

The reason behind these changes, according to ICEG, is the “emerging evidence” for “the potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols in specific circumstances”.

This recognition, along with the PPE guideline changes, comes after a protracted campaign from medical professionals across the board, some of whom took to social media to celebrate.

COVID-19 live update