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Plaid Cymru calling for health workers to be equipped with FFP3 face masks

25 Jul 2021 2 minute read
Plaid health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth. FFP3 mask (image by Dronepicr: cc-by-2.0)

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.

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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 years ago

Theoretically a good idea but right now there are 10’s of billions of unused items of PPE bought by NHS Supplies, some on behalf of PHW, just sitting in containers stored all over England. We don’t know what’s in them as some have been founf unfit for purpose but Wales will pay for those English failures as well.

Until we know what is where and who it belongs to we could easily end up throwing good money after bad. We are already liable for our share of the £26Bn credit and fraud loss for loan schemes.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

But reducing infections will come with it’s own economic benefits (i.e. less self isolation), which should at least partially offset the extra cost of buying the more expensive masks.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Did we have any Senedd involvement in the “£26Bn credit and fraud loss for loan schemes”? If this was a Westminster scheme I contend we are not liable.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

It is a “national project” just like HS2 and Welsh taxpayers will each pay the same as the English. The vast bulk of spending will be in England and because it is “national” Wales will not get the compensatory Barnett payment.

Try to behave like a good colony, Chris. It does our feudal masters no good if we peasants complain.

We shouldn’t buy FFP3 masks just in case we already own a billion of them in containers in Immingham. Let’s see what Hancock bought with our money first?

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