CCGs are to provide fit testing for GPs and practice staff who have been risk-assessed as needing FFP3 masks, the BMA has said.
It comes as the Government’s PPE portal has now been updated to include FFP3 order limits for GP practices.
The portal said that practices with 7,999 or fewer patients can order up to 100 FFP3 masks per week free of charge, those with 8,000 to 29,999 can order up to 150 and those with 30,000 or more patients can order up to 200.
It reiterated that it is a ‘legal requirement on employers that FFP3 masks must be fit tested on all health and care staff who may be required to wear one to ensure an adequate seal or fit according to the manufacturer’s guidance’.
But the BMA’s latest GP Committee bulletin said that ‘CCGs have been informed that where risk assessments have shown it to be necessary, fit testing should also be provided by the CCG’.
GPs were previously told that they can access FFP3s via the Government’s PPE portal if practices have ‘undertaken the necessary risk assessments and arranged for staff to have been fit tested before ordering the equipment’.
UKHSA and NHS England jointly manage the IPC guidance, along with Public Health Wales and the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency.
It followed BMA advice last month that GPs should wear FFP2 face masks ‘as default’ when consulting patients face to face to protect against the highly-infectious Omicron Covid variant.
The BMA has published preliminary guidance around how to risk assess which type of face mask is needed, including both FFP2s and FFP3s, with more to follow.
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.