Updated infection control guidance for winter
All patients and staff will continue to be advised to wear face coverings in GP practices until at least March or April next year, according to updated infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines.
Updated guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirms that a 'recommendation for universal use of face masks for staff and face masks/coverings for all patients/visitors' will remain part of IPC advice for health and care providers through winter.
The advice says physical distancing requirements should also remain in place, with 1m distancing as a minimum and 'increasing whenever feasible to 2m'.
In settings where patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection are being managed, minimum recommended distancing remains at 2m.
Vaccination in pregancy
The UK Health Security Agency has published more data to demonstrate the safety of the COVID-19 vaccinations in pregnant women.
The analysis showed that rates of still birth, premature birth and low birth rate were broadly the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated women between January and August 2021.
The data also showed that women living in the most deprived areas were less likely to be vaccinated with one dose before giving birth than those in more affluent areas (7.8% compared with 26.5%).
There was also variation across ethinic groups, with Black women the least likely to be vaccinated at the time of birth (5.5%), followed by women of Asian ethnicity (13.5%) and mxed ethnicity (14%), with white women most likely to be vaccianted (17.5%).
The UK Health Security Agency is urging pregnant women to come forward for vaccination to protect themselves and their unborn child. Pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.
COVID-19 guidance tracker
Don't forget that our COVID-19 GP guidance tracker provides a list of guidance relevant to GP practices in an easy-to-search format. The tracker is regularly updated and you can find it here.