Workers in Scotland who provide long-term care for the elderly, as well as staff working in residential mental health, will be offered weekly COVID-19 testing from next month.
The Scottish Government said the testing would be available from 8 July and would build on the routine testing currently offered to care home staff.
In addition, from June 29 all staff in hospitals and care home who interact with patients or residents will be required to wear a medical face mask throughout their shift.
Anyone entering care homes and hospitals will also be asked to wear a face covering throughout.
Face coverings will also be required when attending a hospital appointment.
The measures are part of updated guidance to further strengthen the safety of staff and patients as Scotland’s NHS begins restarting community and hospital services that have been paused due to the pandemic.
‘Throughout the pandemic NHS Scotland has remained open, delivering emergency services and vital care,’ said Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman.
‘As the NHS prepares to safely resume more services, it is vitally important that we continue with rigorous infection prevention and control practices to minimise the spread of the virus in any health and social care setting, and are aligned with the growing evidence on this virus and how it is transmitted.
‘I am bringing forward a range of actions to strengthen these practices, in line with advice from clinical experts. This includes regular testing of all hospital staff working in specialist cancer services, as well as those who provide long-term care for the elderly, and those working in long-stay mental health facilities,’ she added.
‘This new guidance will also ensure all staff in hospitals and care homes who interact with patients or residents will be required to wear a medical face mask throughout their shift – for the protection of those they care for, their colleagues and themselves.’
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