Social distancing scrapped in hospital waiting rooms

NHS England bosses have advised local health services that patients in waiting rooms across England are no longer required to socially distance.

The letter from NHS England said that the new ‘stepping down’ rules apply to NHS hospitals, GP surgeries and emergency departments, with the change in advice the result of rules now needing to ‘adapt’ with Covid-19, because the virus was widely circulating and likely to remain endemic for some time.

The changes will also see cleaning routines in hospitals change and patients with Covid will have to isolate for a week instead of 10 days.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS providers, which represents hospital trusts, said: "We need to keep reviewing our infection-control measures. We know at the moment that they are very important to protect vulnerable people but they also make it a lot more complex to run a hospital, get through care backlogs and provide emergency care. What these rules are saying is each individual hospital needs to review where it is up to in terms of local infection rates but also seeing how many rooms they have in a hospital too."

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