Guidance on What PPE To Wear


合众齿科牙科医生-王欣院长 by H Shaw

Ordering PPE is one thing, but deploying it correctly is quite another. There is a steep learning curve.

Doctors and other medical practitioners are asking for guidance on what PPE to wear to process COVID-19 patients safely. Currently, however, there is some confusion. The advice from Resuscitation Council UK makes it clear that medics need full PPE for chest compressions to protect themselves and patients. But the members of the British Medical Association are still concerned that they are not receiving adequate protection.

PPE Guidance For Different Clinical Settings

The type of PPE you should wear depends on the clinical setting.

General Setting, Whenever You Deal With COVID-19 Patients

In the general setting, whenever the risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection is high, you should wear:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable apron
  • Surgical face mask
  • Eye protection if there is a risk of contamination of the eyes via droplets.

High-Risk Settings Where Aerosol-Generating Procedures Are Being Used

In high-risk settings, such as chest compression for acute patients, medical professionals require additional PPE. You should expect to have:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable eye protection
  • A disposable coverall or gown
  • FFP3 respirator

Ambulance Staff, Paramedics And First Responders

Ambulance staff and other emergency medical professionals require different PPE, depending on the type of patient care they're offering.

For direct patient care, you can expect:

  • Single-use disposable gloves
  • Disposable apron
  • Fluid-resistant "type IIR" surgical mask
  • Eye and face protection

For performing an aerosol-generating procedure, such as intubation or suctioning, you require:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Filtering face piece respirator
  • Eye and face protection
  • Disposable, fluid-repellent gown

Drivers of conveying vehicles, such as ambulances, may only require fluid-resistant type IIR surgical masks.

PPE For Primary, Outpatient And Community Care

In any setting, medical professionals in these categories will require:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable, fluid-repellent coveralls or gowns
  • Filtering, face piece respirator
  • Eye and face protection.

PPE requirements, however, may be less stringent, depending on the setting. Public Health England guidelines recommend only type IIR surgical masks for those working as receptionists.

Alternatives To Coveralls

Some areas have experienced significant shortages of protective gowns and coveralls. It may not be possible, therefore, to provide this PPE in all clinical settings.

Ideally, clinical settings should not have to purchase their own PPE. In some circumstances, however, there may be no alternative, and individual managers need to make independent decisions on what to buy. Currently, the government is advising that medical professionals will not face serious action or criticism if they take purchasing decisions into their own hands.

Currently, the BMA is representing clinicians with the government, both attempting to secure certified PPE while also protecting them from fallout resulting from PPE acquisition schemes.

The UK released general guidance on how to use PPE on 2 April 2020 as a joint statement from a range of public health bodies, including the Department of Health and Social Care.

Public bodies later qualified what practitioners should do if they cannot access full PPE on 17 April and again on 3 May 2020.

Zoe Brightmore
About the author

Zoe Brightmore

Zoe is a volunteer of PPE4People. A recent BSc neuroscience graduate with experience in scientific writing and two new kittens.