19 July 2021

England’s Chief Nurse reminds the public that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday.

However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors.

That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.

Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, mask and other personal protection equipment.

The NHS will continue to support staff in ensuring that the guidance is followed in all healthcare settings.

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.

“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.

“As restrictions are lifted in many places on 19 July everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.

“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”

Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease and this guidance remains in place.

“We expect patients, visitors and NHS staff to continue using face coverings and maintain social distancing in all healthcare settings as we cautiously lift restrictions on Monday.

“I urge everyone to play their part and think of those more vulnerable than you when visiting your local hospital or GP."