Plaid Cymru calling for health workers to be equipped with FFP3 face masks
Plaid Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to provide health workers with FFP3 style face masks to help reduce infection risks.
It follows research by Cambridge University that suggests the use of Filtering Face Pieces (FFP3) masks can prevent airborne infections by up to 100 percent.
FFP3 masks use thicker filtering materials, are better contoured to the face and typically include a plastic valve to help breathing.
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson, said: “The strong evidence base suggesting the effectiveness of FFP3 masks makes for a solid argument that health and care workers in Wales should be equipped with these masks.
“The Welsh Government has a responsibility to keep infection of these critical workers to a minimum not only for the workers’ sakes, but also for maintaining staffing numbers, maintaining health and care services, and preventing covid outbreaks in these settings and in the wider community.
“All measures available should be utilised to prevent health and care workers from becoming infected, and rolling out FFP3 masks is a simple measure which has the potential to have a huge impact on their infection rates.”
A previous call during Vaughan Gething’s time as Health Miniter was rejected, saying it went against advice and raising concerns about, “additional costs, discomfort and the negative impacts of having to wear additional PPE.”
The Cambridge University research took place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
It was found that with the use of FFP3 masks, healthcare workers on covid wards had the same infection rates as staff on wards without covid patients.
Previously, with the use of traditional fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSMs), health workers on the covid wards were 47 times more likes to become infected.
A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that nearly a quarter of people who died with coronavirus in Wales were likely to have been infected while in a hospital.