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Relaxation of mask wearing in West Suffolk hospitals

From Monday, 5 September 2022, anyone coming into West Suffolk and Newmarket hospitals will no longer be required to wear a mask in non-clinical areas.

Masks will only be required in the emergency department and in all wards. This means that visitors coming to see loved ones will still be requested to wear a mask when entering a ward.

Patients coming in for outpatient appointments will no longer be required to wear a mask.

However, should anyone wish to wear a mask onsite, they will remain available free of charge at the entrances to our hospital sites.

Sue Wilkinson, chief nurse for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This change means that in most areas of the hospital, except places like wards and our emergency department, it will now be up to each individual whether they wear a mask or not.

“We appreciate that staff, patients and the public may have mixed feelings about relaxing mask wearing in most areas of our hospitals, but we never make these decisions lightly and they are based on expert advice.

“Should Covid-19 community infection rates rise again, we will take further expert advice and review our decision accordingly. Our priority is always the safety of our staff and patients.”

Background information:

  • Masks are no longer required in non-clinical areas of our hospitals, such as corridors and cafes. They are also no longer required in our outpatient departments.
  • Masks are still required to be worn in all hospital wards, our emergency department, by our community staff visiting patients in their own homes and in Glastonbury Court.
  • Decisions on mask wearing are taken by a group of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust experts, including staff from our infection prevention, public health and clinical teams.

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