Patient face covering exemptions
From Friday 24 July people are required to wear face-coverings in several environments including public transport, shops and supermarkets, practices may get an increase in requests from patients to provide exemption letters.
Government guidance on face coverings including exemptions can be found here.
Practices have a contractual and legal obligation to provide patients with copies of their medical records. If requested by a patient, practices should provide the patient with either a copy of their notes or a summary which states the conditions which the patient is known to suffer with and have been documented in their medical record.
Risk assessing or producing a letter for a patient to be exempt from wearing a face covering is not part of the practice’s NHS obligations nor are GPs in a position to do this.
The government guidance on exemptions enables individuals to self-declare that they are exempt, medical evidence is not required.
If a practice receives a request for an exemption letter, they should direct the patient to the exemption guidance and self-declaration certificates. Practices may wish to consider updating their website with this information and using a standard text such as the one below, in response to a patient requesting an exemption letter/certificate.
Template website text:
As a practice we are not able to provide any patient with an exemption certificate or letter. The risks of Covid-19 infection is still significant so please wear face coverings. Should you feel that you should be exempt from wearing a face covering please download an exemption card.