IPS statement on infection prevention & control and COVID-19
The Infection Prevention Society are experts in preventing the transmission of infection in
healthcare environments. We fully support and endorse the guidance on the use of
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the management of COVID-19 from the joint UK
Public Health bodies and published in the Guidance for Infection Prevention & Control in
Healthcare Settings [https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novelcoronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control]. This guidance clearly recommends an appropriate and safe level of PPE for protecting healthcare workers against this virus which is transmitted by respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces.
We fully endorse the published guidance that FFP3 respirators and long-sleeved gowns are
only necessary where there is a risk of aerosol generating procedures (AGP). These AGPs
have been defined and agreed by experts in the field.
Whilst we appreciate the natural concern of healthcare workers to protect themselves, the
main risk of acquiring infection comes from touching their own mucous membranes with
contaminated hands or gloves. The demand from healthcare workers to use FFP3
respirators and gowns for non-aerosol generating procedures will reduce the availability of
this equipment for those staff who are at greatest risk. We are therefore calling on clinical
colleagues and specialist societies, whose expertise is not infection prevention, to refrain
from creating confusion, anxiety and alarm by contradicting the advice from experts in this
The Infection Prevention Society is an independent charity with a 2,000 strong member
network. Our vision is that no person is harmed by a preventable infection. We strive to
fulfil our vision by informing, promoting and sustaining expert infection prevention policy
and practice where care is delivered at local, national, and international level. Our
commitment to communicate with and educate clinical professionals and the public enables
us to play a central role in making treatment and care safer for patients and their relatives.
Website: www.ips.uk.net Twitter: @IPS_Infection