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The wearing of masks will no longer be mandatory at Dorset County Hospital from 11 April 2023.

Cases of COVID-19 are reducing in Dorset, and many healthcare settings in the community, such as GP surgeries, have already stepped back from making masks compulsory.

From 11 April, staff, visitors and patients at Dorset County Hospital will no longer be required to wear masks in public and most clinical areas.

Surgical masks will still be available in main entrances for anyone who wishes to wear one – and anyone suffering from symptoms such as coughing or sneezing is encouraged to wear a mask to protect others from infection while in the hospital.

Masks will still be required in some clinical areas to protect patients who have lowered immunity and these areas will have notices on entrance doors to advise visitors.

There will also be a requirement to wear masks and enhanced PPE (personal protective equipment) in any areas treating certain respiratory infections.

Dorset County Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Jo Howarth said: “Our priority remains patient safety. Although masks will no longer be mandatory in most clinical areas, we will still be following IPC guidance to keep vulnerable patients safe.

“Mask wearing will be a personal choice for people visiting most areas of our hospital and we will still have masks available at entrances for anyone wishing to take extra precautions.

“Our usual IPC guidance about washing or gelling your hands remains crucial in minimising the spread of infections within the hospital environment.”

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