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Changes to the NSW Health mask wearing policy and recommendations for primary care providers

NSW Hospitals

From 30 August 2023, NSW Health changed the mask wearing policy which includes changes to mask wearing in NSW hospitals.

  • Visitors and patients are still required to wear a mask in the hospital if they have cold or flu symptoms.
  • Staff may now choose to not wear a mask in some clinical and patient-facing areas. This is because cases of respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 and flu have declined sufficiently and winter has endedStaff are required to wear masks if they are looking after someone with cold or flu symptoms and in some clinical areas
  • Some people may choose to wear a mask when it is not mandated to do so and should be supported in that choice.

NSW Health may change their mask wearing policy again in the future if cases increase.

Find out more here: Guidance on wearing face masks | NSW Government

General practices

Use of face masks in general practice medical centres and pharmacies is no longer nationally mandated. However, both the RACGP and NSW Health continue to recommend mask use for the practice team, patients, and visitors especially during the colder months. Practices can make it a condition of entry to the practice to wear a mask.

RACGP - Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for GPs

  • Patients:

The wearing of face masks by patients who display respiratory symptoms is recommended, including to communicate this to patients in advance and have processes in place for patients who cannot wear a mask or cannot communicate with clinicians wearing a mask.

  • Clinicians and staff:

The use of N95 masks, rather than surgical masks, + eye protection is recommended for within 1.5 metres of patients with respiratory symptoms. RACGP-COVID-19-infection-control-principles.pdf.aspx

Other facilities

Visitors may still be required to wear a mask in NSW when visiting high-risk settings such as aged and disability care and it is recommended to check with the facility beforehand.

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