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FOI release

FOI – 2024-000083 Masking Guidance (HTML)

Published on 12 March 2024

Date received – 15 February 2024 | Date responded – 12 March 2024


Under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) I would be grateful if you could provide me with the scientific evidence justifying the use of face coverings (including face masks) during the Covid 19 pandemic and specifically evidence relating to how the use of these face coverings prevent the spread of COVID19.


We have now completed the search of our records and can provide you with the following information:

Under section 17 of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act, 2002 (FOISA) an organisation does not have to provide that information if it does not hold that information. NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) does not hold any information in relation to any evidence justifying the use of face coverings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regarding face masks, ARHAI Scotland (Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection), a body of NSS, produced a suite of rapid literature reviews to support the infection prevention and control response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, which highlights face mask use. These rapid reviews are no longer being updated. For reference, the latest rapid review is available online at Rapid review of the literature: Assessing the infection prevention and control measures for the prevention and management of COVID-19 in health and care settings (

You may wish to contact the Scottish Government for information in relation face coverings at the following - Request information -

I trust you will find the information of assistance and if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of how we have dealt with your request, you can make representations to us asking us to review the handling of your request.

If you require any further information, please contact Head of Information and Cyber Security, Digital and Security within 40 working days of the date of this correspondence.



NHS National Services Scotland
Gyle Square
1 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9EB

If after a review you are still unhappy, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner, who can be contacted at Kinburn Castle, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS, or via their application form.

National Services Scotland (NSS) is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. You can view all FOI responses within our FOI Publications repository.