Updated 31 January 2023

From Wednesday, 1 February 2023 the use of masks in clinical areas will no longer be mandatory

Due to relatively low rates of COVID-19, a decision has been made to remove the instruction for mandatory use of masks in clinical areas. This is replaced with a local risk assessment and individual transmission based precautions.

The decision will be subject to further review depending on factors such as the number of cases in the Trust, local community rates and variants of concern.

Please see the updated guidance for further information on the use of masks for staff, patients and visitors, including temporary reinstatement of masks in ward settings during cases or outbreaks of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Staff working across other trusts must comply with standard operating procedures at their sites.

PPE Hub at Puma Court

The PPE Hub at Puma Court is now operational on a Wednesday’s only and the only hub email in use is: KnowsleyPPEStockOrdering@merseycare.nhs.uk please use this for all PPE orders.  Download the order form

An email will be sent to let you  know that your order is ready for collection, you will need to wait for this email before arriving to collect. Can you make sure that you collect your orders as soon as possible after you receive your 'ready to collect' email, due to limited space.  If you need to make other arrangements to collect please email the inbox above and the team will do our best to accommodate you.

Finally make sure you order sufficient stock.

All staff in clinical areas must be bare below the elbows to ensure that hands can be washed effectively for 20 seconds. This is more important than ever to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It means that you must not wear: stone rings, watches, fit bits, bracelets, nail varnish or false nails whilst in a clinical area. Further detail is available in section 8.2 in the Trust  Infection Prevention and Control Policy

There are short films to remind you of the correct process for donning and doffing – please copy and paste this link into Chrome https://vimeo.com/401585323

eLearning training is available on ESR. If you have any questions contact: InfectionControl@merseycare.nhs.uk or call 0151 295 3036.

 Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in warm or hot environments increases the risk of heat stress. This occurs when the body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Heat stress can cause heat exhaustion and lead to heat stroke if the person is unable to cool down.

Measures to control the temperature of clinical environments and enable staff to make behavioural adaptations to stay cool and well hydrated should be made. Staff may require more frequent breaks and the frequency of PPE changes may increase, with a resulting increase in demand.

Staff working in warm/hot conditions should:

  • Take regular breaks, find somewhere cool if you can
  • Make sure you are hydrated (checking your urine is an easy way of keeping an eye on your hydration levels – dark or strong smelling urine is a sign that you should drink more fluids)
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress and dehydration (thirst, dry mouth, dark or strong smelling urine, urinating infrequently or in small amounts, inability to concentrate, muscle cramps, fainting). Don’t wait until you start to feel unwell before you take a break.
  • Use a buddy system with your team to look out for the signs of heat stress (eg. confusion, looking pale or clammy, fast breathing) in each other
  • Between shifts, try to stay cool as this will give your body a chance to recover.

Once used, face masks must be disposed of correctly in line with official guidance from NHSE and NHSi:

Clinical areas

Clinical staff should dispose of surgical face masks in the infectious waste stream (orange bag) if visibly contaminated with bodily fluids or into the offensive waste stream (black and yellow striped bag) if they are not visibly contaminated with bodily fluids.

Community staff

Community staff should continue to dispose of masks (and PPE) in the patient’s domestic waste, unless it is known to be infectious, then it should be placed in an orange bag for collection.

Offices and food prep areas that are COVID-19 secure

Where areas are COVID-19 secure, for example, offices and food preparation areas, masks can be discarded in the domestic waste stream if no longer required.

Patient facing areas

Masks worn by patients, visitors and non-clinical staff who have entered a clinical area should be discarded in the offensive waste stream (black and yellow striped bag) if no longer required. Bins for these should be located at the entrances and exits, where masks are given to those who do not have them.

FAQs on mask 12 June 2020

The link above includes some questions we’ve received from staff regarding masks.

You can contact the following fit testers who are providing testing across divisions - test takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Community staff fit testing sessions will be held at Liverpool Innovation Park every Thursday between 9am and 4pm. A test takes around 45 minutes to complete and can be booked here click here​. If you have any questions about booking a test online please ​email Trevor.Duggan@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Tested? staff that have been fit mask tested

Will all team leaders/ward managers make sure that staff who have been tested are tagged in staff lists/off duties with ‘FT’ to enable them to be identified during out of hours and weekends.


Laundering of staff uniforms and scrubs (Standard Operating Procedure)

Not all areas will have changing facilities at work. Where this is the case staff can change at home but must not go to shops, pubs, restaurants etc. whilst in uniforms/scrubs.

Wear a clean uniform/set of scrubs each day

Areas with changing facilities


Areas with no changing facilities

Take uniform to work in a clean bag.

Put on a clean uniform at home.

Change into uniform at work putting regular clothes into bag.

At end of shift place used uniform into a bag for transport home and change back into clean regular clothes.

If items become visibly contaminated with bodily fluids whilst at work, first place into a soluble alginate bag - spare scrubs or uniforms should be available locally for such scenarios.


If soluble alginate bags are used this can be placed directly into the washing machine. A pillow case (from home, not hospital linen) could also be used to transport used items but should be emptied into the washing machine and washed with the uniform.


N.B. plastic bags should not be taken into secure sites where restrictions apply.

When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.


Wash separate from other household laundry items.


When home, place the uniform into the washing machine and wash on a 60°c wash.


Wash separate from other household laundry items.

Wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Remove clean items from the washing machine and tumble dry if possible. Once dry, place clean items into a clean bag ready for use or transport.

All staff wearing uniform are reminded that they should be ‘bare below the elbow’, no rings (other than one plain band), bracelets, long, painted or false nails at all times. For full details see the Infection Prevention and Control Policy.