Under consideration PE2071: Take action to protect people from airborne infections in health and social care settings

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to:

  • improve air quality in health and social care settings through addressing ventilation, air filtration and sterilisation;

  • reintroduce routine mask-wearing in those settings, particularly respiratory masks;

  • reintroduce routine Covid testing;

  • ensure staff manuals fully cover preventing airborne infection;

  • support ill staff to stay home;

  • provide public health information on the use of respiratory masks and the HEPA air filtration against airborne infections.

Previous action taken

I have:

  • met with my constituency MSP, suggested PQs

  • met and corresponded with lead officials on masking, ventilation, vaccination and clinical risk

  • submitted FoI requests

  • requested meeting with Antimicrobal Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland (declined).

  • I have met with the Director for Strategy, Governance and Performance at Public Health Scotland.

Background information

Infections like Covid, flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection, measles and TB spread by inhaling tiny airborne aerosols hanging in the air like smoke. Key ways to prevent it are to improve air quality and wear well-fitting respiratory masks. Reinfection increases risk of long-term serious damage potentially for anyone, to brain, heart, immune system, etc. Care workers top the long Covid league. Repeated illness and job loss put avoidable pressure on services. The rate of hospital acquired Covid infection has been shown to be higher than in the community (ARHAI ceased collecting that data in March, prior to the removal of masking guidance in May). Clinically vulnerable people often must use care but some are cancelling essential health appointments. Transmission is often asymptomatic. Covid isn’t seasonal. Routine testing is thus essential. There are many tools to protect health and the NHS. Only one is being used: vaccination – which is unavailable to many, including some clinically vulnerable people.

  • Created by Sally Witcher
  • Considered from 6 December 2023
  • Petitions can collect signatures until the petition has been closed

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