Social distancing should be cut to 1m in practices, says new IPC guidance

Practices can reduce social distancing from 2m to 1m providing the continued use of face coverings is in place, new infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance says.

(Picture: Amer Ghazzal/Getty Images)

The guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which has taken over some of the work of Public Health England, says that practices will need to undertake local risk assessments to identify where physical distancing can be safely reduced.

'This decision will need to be based upon factors such as the configuration of premises, access, ventilation and so on,' the guidance adds.

The government asked the UKHSA to review the IPC guidance for primary care in a bid to help boost access to face to face appointments.

However, the new guidance does acknowledge that remote consultations will continue to have key role to play in primary care despite the change in social distancing recommendations.

Face-to-face consultations

'Face-to-face consultations can now go ahead where this is safe for patients and staff,' the guidance says. 'The decision about when to see patients face to face or through video consultation is for local clinical leaders based on a number of factors, including patient needs and preferences, configuration of premises, local capacity and the ability to ventilate spaces.'

The UKHSA said that face coverings will still be required for any patients attending the practice for a face-to-face appointment unless they are exempt. It also emphasises the importance of hand and respiratory hygiene and says that patients with symptoms of COVID-19 should phone their practice ahead of attending for an appointment.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Delegates at MIMS Learning Live

Learn, earn CPD and network with peers at MIMS Learning Live London

Registration is now open for MIMS Learning Live London on 9 June at the Business...

Satisfaction digital screen

'Wake-up call' for government as NHS and GP satisfaction hit all-time low

Public satisfaction with the NHS has slumped to just 29% - the lowest level ever...

BMA picket armband

Vast majority of GPs ready for industrial action, LMC poll suggests

More than three quarters of GPs and practice managers back industrial action - with...

Cow's Milk Allergy in Practice

Register for the Cow's Milk Allergy in Practice webinar series 2023

Join us for the 2023 Cow’s Milk Allergy in Practice series of webinars for healthcare...

GP at desk

GPs 'psychologically distressed' by COVID-19 pandemic, study shows

GPs were left ‘psychologically distressed and overwhelmed’ by working through the...

Opening letter

GPs could ignore £156,000 pay declaration after failure to update contracts

Many practices can ignore demands for GPs earning over £156,000 to declare their...