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29 April 2022

Covid update - 29 April

Covid guidance updates

  • College announces a move from Amber to ‘Living with Covid' Green Phase
  • NHS England steps down physical distancing
  • Scotland Covid measures

College announces a move from Amber to 'Living with Covid' Green Phase

The College of Optometrists has confirmed it expects to move to its 'Green' phase in early May. It is hoped this will happen on the 10 May, but the exact date is subject to change. We will update members when the College provides more detail but in the meantime:

  • The College has advised practices should now prepare to switch from its Amber guidance to  following its updated Guidance for Professional Practice (GfPP).
  • The GfPP now sets out IPC measures for what the College describes as, the 'new normal.' Members should access the infection control section here.
  • B28 for example sets out how standard precautions - good hand hygiene etc. - will remain in place. B38 explains when PPE should be used. B39 clarifies situations in which team members should use a Type IIR mask.  B39c explains that PPE measures should also follow official public health guidance. These of course may well vary by country and location in the future- e.g. during periods of high Covid transmission or flu season etc.

We advise members to review the updated GfPP. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

NHS England steps down physical distancing

NHS England has confirmed that primary care practices can return to "pre-pandemic physical distancing" subject to local risk assessment. 
The College of Optometrists has said this also applies to eye care settings in England, and that optical practices are "no longer required to maintain a minimum of 1m distance". However, practices will need to keep other IPC measures in place. 
The College has updated its Covid-19 Amber phase guidance to reflect the changes to physical distancing recommendations across the UK pending its move to 'green' phase next month.
In a practical sense, this means that optical practices in England can remove physical distancing measures based on local risk assessments - e.g. they are not seeing patients with Covid symptoms.

Scotland Covid measures

The latest changes in Covid-19 measures came into effect in Scotland on Monday, 18 April 2022, and are set out on the Scottish Government (SG) website

SG has clarified that at this stage there has been no change in the PPE requirements for healthcare staff. Primary eye care providers should continue to follow the Winter (21/22) Respiratory Infections in Health and Care Settings IPC Addendum Guidance.
It strongly recommends that patients and visitors continue to wear a face-covering but this is no longer a legal requirement. Other IPC measures, such as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and ventilation, may be sufficient depending on the type of patients and care pathway. Practices and providers should encourage patients and visitors to continue to wear a face-covering (unless exempt). The Scottish government has provided resources to assist in promoting this message. 


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