NHS Fife has highlighted the importance of wearing a mask in all hospitals across the Kingdom.
A reminder has been issued on mask wearing ahead of the busy festive season.
If you are visiting a friend or loved one in hospital, you are still required to wear a fluid resistant surgical mask (FRSM) in all clinical areas, unless you are exempt.
Masks are available free of charge at main entrances of all hospital sites.
Director of Nursing, Janette Keenan, explained why it is vital people continue to comply with the guidance.
She said: “COVID-19 still poses a threat, and we are seeing case numbers rise again in our communities.
“It is vital that visitors to the clinical areas of our hospitals wear fluid-resistant masks to help protect our most clinically vulnerable patients, who are at greater risk from COVID-19 infection.
“Wearing masks in clinical areas also helps protect our hard-working NHS staff, who care for them.
“It’s important we all do what we can to reduce the risk of infection or outbreaks on our wards, which leads to extra pressure on our hospitals at an incredibly busy time.”
As well as reminders on NHS Fife’s social media channels, posters will also be displayed in hospitals to highlight clinical areas where a mask should be worn.
Janette Keenan added: “Unfortunately, we’ve had instances where staff who’ve challenged visitors about wearing masks have been subjected to verbal abuse. I’d like to remind everyone that abuse of any kind towards our staff will not be tolerated.
“We have also seen recent examples where COVID-19 has been brought into areas where visitors have frequently refused to wear a mask. This leads to wards having to be closed and restrictions placed on visiting, which no-one wants at this time of year.
“We’re asking everyone to help us protect both the vulnerable people in our care and our staff by playing their part this festive season and wearing a mask in our hospitals.”
Guidance for the rules around mask wearing in hospitals can be found online at: https://www.nhsfife.org/services/patients-carers-and-visitors/current-visiting-arrangements/face-mask-guidance-for-nhs-fife/