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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)



The purpose of wearing a type II fluid resistant surgical mask (FRSM) during surgical and invasive procedures is to minimise the transmission of pathogens in the nose, mouth and throat of staff to patients. They also protect staff from splash or spray of blood/body fluids onto their respiratory mucosa (nose and mouth).

A wide range of FFP3 respirators have been used as protection by staff across healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including FFP3 respirators with and without exhalation valves. The exhalation valves do not filter exhaled breath, even when of a ‘shrouded’ type.