BAA has co-signed a letter that the National Deaf Children’s Society has sent to all NHS Trust CEOs about the availability of transparent face masks. The letter has also been copied to all Audiology Heads of Service. Read the letter and mask availability information here:
**Please note this letter will also be sent to Welsh and Scottish HealthBoards once relevant amendments have been made to the content**
Dear [NHS Trust CEO]
Cc. Audiology department lead
Re. Transparent face masks approved for use by NHS Transparent Mask Panel
I hope this letter finds you well. As CEO of the National Deaf Children’s Society, I wanted to share some good news with you around transparent face masks.
You may be aware that for deaf children young people and adults, patients and staff alike, opaque facemasks create a serious communication barrier. The increased use of facemasks during the pandemic, although necessary to reduce the spread of infection, has made lip-reading and understanding visual cues from facial expressions impossible. This has left deaf people (and I include myself here) struggling to communicate. The implications of misunderstanding medical information due to these new barriers could be very serious.
To address these issues, a UK wide working group was set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement to work on the development of transparent PPE, which the National Deaf Children’s Society has been supporting. The group produced a new technical specification which gives testing, design and performance requirements for single-use transparent face masks which provide comparable protection to that of a Type IIR mask. The technical specification has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-specifications-for-personal-protective-equipment-ppe/transparent-face-mask-technical-specification
Three products have now completed this process and are available for use in healthcare settings as an equivalent to the Type IIR mask. These masks are not yet on the NHS supply chain, but they are available for purchase and use by NHS Trusts immediately.
We would encourage you to purchase a supply of these masks so they are available for use with deaf patients and staff. Their use could be regarded as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010 and we will be encouraging all our members to ask services to try them.
Contact details for suppliers of the compliant products are below:
|Britannia Safety Ltd
|C & P Medical Trading Ltd
|Opulent Collection Ltd
|Scientific Laboratory Supplies Ltd (Smile Shield)
|Solar Medical & Chemical
|Springfield Papers Ltd
|Contechs Consulting Ltd (Contechs)
|Globus (shetland) Ltd
(Alpha Solway Haika-MXC)
The Department for Health and Social Care was planning on running a pilot across a range of settings but this has been cancelled. Instead they are asking for users to log feedback here – https://form.jotform.com/220301536099350 or via the QR code at the end of this letter.
If you have any questions about the work of the Transparent PPE group please email: email@example.com
We would also be keen to know how you find using these transparent masks if you do so, so if you can, please also do contact my colleague Beccy Forrow with your feedback – firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you and many thanks in anticipation of your assistance.