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Health unions seek urgent meeting with HSE on end of mandatory mask wearing in hospitals

There are concerns that lifting mandatory mask wearing could cause “friction” between those with different views in already overcrowded hospital wards.

HEALTH UNIONS HAVE asked to meet urgently with HSE management to discuss the lifting of mandatory mask-wearing across healthcare settings. 

A spokesperson for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said that the union, alongside others, has outstanding concerns about staff being “fully supported” by the HSE in the event of “serious outbreaks”. 

They also fear that the decision could result in friction between those with “differing views” on mask wearing in healthcare settings. 

The union said that healthcare workers who are already operating in “overcrowded environments”, do not “need to deal with additional pressure if there are differing views on mask-wearing in already overcrowding wards”. 

“We want the HSE to assure staff that they will be fully supported in the event of serious outbreaks but also if there is friction between those who have differing views on mask-wearing in healthcare settings.

“Our members are already working in intense and overcrowded environments at the moment, they do not need to deal with additional pressure if there are differing views on mask-wearing in already overcrowded wards,” the spokesperson added. 

The mandatory wearing of masks in hospitals and other healthcare areas by patients, staff and visitors came to an end today, on the advice of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 

It was compulsory to wear a mask in these settings from the beginning of the pandemic until today. 

Now it will be up to each hospital to individually decide if this practice should continue on in their wards, meaning that in some hospitals mask wearing will continue.

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