Dr Katherine Henderson, President of the RCEM (Royal College of Emergency Medicine) has stated that it is absolutely essential that patients and visitors in Emergency Departments continue to protect themselves and others with face masks, hand washing and social distancing.
She said: “While restrictions have been eased, it is absolutely essential that we continue to keep everyone safe in hospital settings and in Emergency Departments. Patients and visitors must therefore expect to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
“Emergency Departments regularly see vulnerable patients. We must do all we can to keep those patients safe, but also to ensure that these patients feel safe coming to the hospital and the Emergency Department if, and when, they need help.
“We ask patients and visitors to kindly respect and co-operate with this guidance and help to keep everyone safe. Staff will not tolerate any abuse whatsoever.
“They absolutely do not deserve it, but it is a sad reality that we are already hearing and seeing abusive behaviour towards staff. It is clear these measures will help protect the most vulnerable patients, so it is right that all patients and visitors follow them. Staff will request all patients and visitors to put a mask on when in an Emergency Department and they will not be engaging in any debate on the guidance.
“It is a matter of public health and infection prevention control to keep all our patients safe.”