Infection control and access to PPE

Revised guidance on infection prevention and control (IPC)

On 21st August the revised UK wide IPC guidance was published. It’s aim is to help healthcare services in the community eg GP services, to remobilise. One of it’s key objectives was to reduce the types of PPE that is worn on a sessional basis (not taken off between patients or supported people). In particular the new guidance no longer allows sessional use of gloves and aprons. An accompanying letter advised that the new IPC guidance would be reflected in non-acute guidance in Scotland.

Health Protection Scotland has been working to update other guidance documents relating to non-acute settings to ensure they align with the revised IPC guidance. Other, updated guidance can be found on the HPS website. Guidance for non-health care settings and guidance for community and residential settings were updated to include tables setting out health/care settings and the type of PPE required.

Extending the use of face masks

The Chief Nursing Officer has revised the Scottish Government’s interim extended use of face mask guidance to align with the UK IPC remobilisation guidance – the interim guidance (published in June) covered hospitals and care homes, however it has now been extended to cover primary care and community care, including care at home, supported housing, community based settings for people with learning disabilities and people who misuse substances and sheltered housing. You can find the revised guidance here. The implementation date is 30th September 2020.

This revised guidance sets out how community based staff delivering ‘direct care’ should wear masks (Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks – FRSM or Type IIR) during a whole shift although there are various reasons why a member of staff would need / wish to take off a mask at some point eg meal break, discomfort, damaged mask, manufacturer’s guidance, distress of supported person, needs of supported person (eg lip reader). Clarification has been sought about the use of the term ‘direct care’. The Unit has been advised that this does not relate to specific types of tasks being undertaken nor the extent to which social distance can be maintained but rather to services delivered face to face (or customer facing).

A Frequently Asked Questions document accompanies the Extended Use of Face Mask Guidance. The CNO will update these FAQs as further queries are raised. The Unit will pass on queries and requests for further clarification from housing support providers (please contact

Access to PPE

Providers of social care have been using the PPE Social Care Triage and Local Hub systems when their usual PPE supply routes have failed. PPE supplied through these routes has been provided free of charge as set out in a Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU is due to come to an end at the end of October on the basis that the arrangements will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

The SG has been discussing proposals about the future supply of PPE to the social care sector with stakeholders, including CCPS, Scottish Care and HSCPs. The Unit understands that a decision will be announced shortly.

If you have any comments or views regarding access arrangements to PPE and whether or not it should be charged for please contact Yvette Burgess at