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National Patient Safety Alert – NatPSA-2021-009-NHSPS

Published on 25 August 2021

From: Health Facilities Scotland

NatPSA/2021/009/NHSPS - Infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) during surgical and invasi



Current infection control guidance states that: “Valved respirators should not be worn by a healthcare worker/operator when sterility directly over the surgical field is required, e.g. in theatres/surgical settings or when undertaking a sterile procedure”. Powered hoods (also known as powered air purifying respirators or PAPRs) have been provided as respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for staff unable to achieve a tight fit with an FFP3 respirator(s). The air exiting PAPR hoods is not filtered.

Incident reports and feedback from services suggest that the risks of valved respirators and PAPRs for surgical and invasive procedures is not well-recognised, and that their use may have become routine in some theatre environments.