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PPE – North West Region Guidance

24 April 2020

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – North West Region Guidance


This guidance paper signposts to current contractors and performers to PHE and/or NHS England resources for Personal Protective Equipment.

Primary care optical practices should not be seeing patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

We recommend that, to preserve supplies of PPE and not require people to make visits to the practice unnecessarily, you should conduct a virtual consultation in the first instance.

We understand that National Public Health bodies are working to arrange supply of PPE to optical practices. When we have further details on this, we will update our guidance.

For urgent eye care service reception staff should maintain a 2-metre distance at all times, and as such do not require PPE to be used.

Distancing and scrupulous hand-washing remain essential. The new guidance now recommends that clinicians should assess risk of infection to themselves and their patients. For the direct care or assessment (within 2 metres) of a patient or resident that is not currently a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case PPE should always be worn before entering the room where the patient is, put the PPE on in the following order:

  1. single use disposable plastic apron
  2. fluid resistant surgical mask (sessional use, based on risk assessment)
  3. reusable face or eye protection (sessional use, based on risk assessment)
  4. single use gloves

Public Health England have produced a poster for clinicians which can be displayed in practices

Infection Control – Hand Hygiene

It is still essential to ensure scrupulous hand hygiene at all times. You should also continue to maintain a high standard of infection control every time. Clean the consulting room door handle, computer keyboard, slit lamp joystick and clinical area regularly with an alcohol wipe. The resources below give further advice on hand hygiene.



Putting on (donning) and Removal (doffing) of personal protective equipment

Public Health England have produced guidance for putting on and removing personal protective equipment, these resources can be used in optical practices as posters to provide a reminder for staff.

Clinicians using PPE should watch the video below before using PPE

College of Optometrists Guidance

Clinicians are advised to remain up to date with College of Optometrists guidance on PPE, this can be found by clicking the link below

PPE  Waste

Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including PPE, disposable cloths and tissues):

  1. Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied.
  2. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag which is tied when full. You may choose to use a large pedal operated bin for the second bin bag.

Waste should be stored safely and kept away from areas where staff may come into contact with it. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment.

Please note that this advice is at a point in time and that we are expecting further national guidance and solutions on clinical waste disposal for optometrists and will share when this becomes available.

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