Infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) during surgical and invasive procedures
A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued on the infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PARPs) during surgical and invasive procedures.
- National Patient Safety Alert – Infection risk when using FFP3 respirators with valves or Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) during surgical and invasive procedures
About this alert
A wide range of FFP3 respirators have been used by staff across healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including FFP3 respirators with and without exhalation valves.
Exhalation valves on these respirators do not filter exhaled breath, even when of a ‘shrouded’ type. 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.
To minimise the risk of infection, this alert asks providers to revise procedures, purchasing processes, stock supply, checklists, and stock labelling around the use of valved FFP3 respirators and PAPRs to ensure they are not used during surgical and invasive procedures except in very specific circumstances set out in infection control guidance linked in the Alert.
About National Patient Safety Alerts
This alert has been issued as a National Patient Safety Alert.
The NHS England and NHS Improvement patient safety team was the first national body to have been accredited to issue National Patient Safety Alerts by the National Patient Safety Alerting Committee (NaPSAC). All National Patient Safety Alerts are required to meet NaPSAC’s thresholds and standards. These thresholds and standards include working with patients, frontline staff and experts to ensure alerts provide clear, effective actions for safety-critical issues.
NaPSAC requires providers to introduce new systems for planning and coordinating the actions required by any National Patient Safety Alert across their organisation, with executive oversight.
Failure to take the actions required under any National Patient Safety Alert may lead to CQC taking regulatory action.Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).