Infectious Diseases: Disease Control

(asked on 9th February 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 5 December 2022 (HL3057), what assessment they have made of the Cochrane Review on Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, published on 30 January 2023; and whether they will update their guidance on face coverings in response to those findings.

Answered by
Lord Markham Portrait
Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
This question was answered on 20th February 2023

The Government is aware of the Cochrane Review published on 30 January 2023, which concludes that there is uncertainty about whether wearing masks helps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses based on the studies assessed.

The National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM), published on the National Health Service website in April 2022 in an online-only format and most recently updated in January 2023, is consistent with the recommendations in the Cochrane Review. The NIPCM is used by healthcare providers in all healthcare settings in England and is complemented by pathogen/disease specific guidance produced by the UK Health Security Agency.

The NIPCM does not require patients or visitors to NHS settings to routinely wear a face mask. However, there are some circumstances where it is recommended by a local risk assessment that patients and visitors to care settings wear masks, for example, where patients are at high risk of infection due to immunosuppression.

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