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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-28269
Asked by: Bob Doris, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 7 April 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, whether it is safe for NHS staff to launder uniforms at home.

Current status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 8 April 2020


Answer

The health and safety of our staff and patients is our main priority at this unprecedented time.

Uniforms with COVID-19 related contamination should be washed by NHS laundry facilities and not taken home to wash. Where possible, a number of Health Boards have expanded the use of NHS facilities to accommodate the laundering of uncontaminated uniforms for staff working within COVID-19 wards.

A review of the role of uniforms in the transfer of infections, and the effectiveness of laundry methods in removing contamination, has taken place based on the latest scientific and clinical advice. This review concluded that there should be no risk of infection from areas of uniform not covered by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

A guidance document, has been developed and is available online and provides specific guidance on the use of PPE, as well as advice on preventing transmission. We are constantly updating this online resource to reflect the latest scientific and clinical advice.

https://www.staffgovernance.scot.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/guidance/

The guidance clarifies that it is safe for staff to launder uniforms at home, provided they are not contaminated and are washed separately from other items, at the hottest temperature appropriate for the fabric and stored and transported safely .

I hope this reassures you of our continued efforts to address the concerns of staff at this difficult time.