Date of release: 5 June 2020
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has received a donation of reusable filter masks from hardware retailer Screwfix, allowing over 100 staff to continue in their current roles instead of being redeployed.
From left, Tony Wheate, Practice Education Facilitator, and Michelle Whiles, Clinical Skills and Resuscitation Trainer, trying out the Screwfix masks
A total of 108 donated masks have been distributed to staff who have failed ‘fit tests’ on FFP3 masks but have passed tests wearing the Screwfix alternative, so they are a lifeline to allow them to continue performing their everyday duties. The masks can only be used by one individual as they are fitted to them. Required for all aerosol generating procedures (AGP), which gastroscopy - where a camera is inserted down the throat into the stomach – is classed as, they are used by a variety of staff including surgeons, radiologists, theatre staff and respiratory staff who have failed fit tests on paper masks.
Each filter on the mask lasts for 28 days but Screwfix have provided a spare set of extra filters, also free of charge, giving staff 56 days of usage and therefore allowing them to perform surgery, insert stents and look after patients on ventilators.
Fit testing involves asking staff to perform several exercises while wearing the mask to ensure it fits properly. As part of the test a vaporised solution, which is very bitter to taste, is sprayed at the filter and if the mask wearer can taste the vapour, they fail the test.
Stuart Hamilton, Joint Head of Clinical Skills and Resuscitation at the Trust, said: “A huge thank you to Screwfix for allowing us to ensure staff to deliver the care requirement to the patients we are responsible for. Without this very generous donation we would have staff who would be unable to deliver the care requirement the people of Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas deserve.”
Screwfix is one of the UK's largest multi-channel retailer of trade tools, accessories and hardware products. A Screwfix spokesperson said: “We are proud to have supported our fantastic NHS staff when they’ve needed it most. We’d like to thank those on the frontline for the amazing job they’re doing to protect us.”