Masks update - 18 April 2023

Staff are no longer mandated to wear masks. This has been replaced with local risk assessments and individual transmission based precautions.

This means that masks will be reintroduced on ward settings during suspected or confirmed single cases or outbreaks of COVID-19 or other respiratory infections. Staff can continue to wear masks as a personal choice. The following guidance for the re-introduction of universal face masks SOP  includes the management of symptomatic and positive patients.

Staff working in other trusts must comply with local SOPs at these sites.

Visitors will not be mandated to wear masks, but encouraged to access masks as a personal choice, as well as alcohol gel, at all hospital, clinic and ward entrances.

Visiting can return to pre COVID arrangements.

This means that:

  • There will be no limit to the number of visitors that patients can receive from an IPC perspective
  • There will be no requirement to use booking systems that were introduced specifically during the COVID pandemic
  • There will be no requirement for patients to wear masks, or safe distance, unless advised by the IPC Team (for example, if the patient has an infection risk).

Good had hygiene should be encouraged prior to and after visits.

Visitors will not routinely need to wear face masks, unless:

  • They are visiting a patient who is vulnerable and at higher risk of infection
  • They’ve been risk assessed or advised by the IPC Team (for example, if the patient has an infection risk)
  • It’s personal choice or need, including if they are vulnerable and at higher risk of severe infection.

Masks will be available in all Trust sites for visitors use.

Visiting a ward that is in outbreak will be by exception and must be discussed with the IPC Team prior to taking place.

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

eLearning training is available on ESR. If you have any questions contact: 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 

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.