Infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or PAPRs
Calling all medical professionals… this is an update from the NHS National Patients Safety Alert on the infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs).
This alert is specifically for organisations, general practices or community hospitals undertaking surgical and invasive procedures including acute and specialist hospitals and independent hospitals providing NHS-funded care.
The purpose of wearing a type II fluid resistant surgical mask (FRSM) during surgical and invasive procedures is to minimise the transmission of pathogens in the nose, mouth and throat of staff to patients and also to protect staff from the splash or spray of the patient’s bodily fluids.
The identified safety issue is that a wide range of FFP3 respirators with valves or PAPRs have been used as protection by staff across healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the exhalation valves do not filter exhaled breath, even when of a ‘shrouded’ type.
You must take action by Thursday 25th November 2021. Implementation should be co-ordinated by an executive lead (or equivalent role in organisations without executive boards) and supported by clinical leaders in infection control and surgery. For the full update on incident reports and the actions required, please read the NHS National Patients Safety Alert summary.
If you are affected by any concerns raised in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.