In Germany, care personnel work with the highly protective FFP2 masks, but in the Netherlands they are still in boxes. According to RIVM, a surgical mask for staff in nursing homes who treat covid patients is sufficient.
Anneke Westerlaken, chairman of CNV Zorg en Welfare, talks with the government about the mouthcaps. “We ask RIVM to quickly issue a mandatory prescription for FFP2 masks, which are better than surgical masks. Employers could give them to staff – as we ask – but employers tend to align their policies with the RIVM. That‘s why we’re now focusing on the RIVM.”
On the use of FFP2 masks, the advice of the RIVM is very reluctant. Only for high-risk operations in hospitals, where it is known that large amounts of aerosols are formed, masks are prescribed.
Initially, there was restraint with a good reason: the type of mask was very scarce. However, the masks are now fully available again. That‘s the platform for investigative journalism Follow the Money, today.
time being, Westerlaken is thinking about the specific masks for caregivers in all sectors where people are dealing with covid patients. “These are people in hospitals, but above all also nursing homes, disabled institutions and general practitioners visiting people at home.”
In the German state of Bavaria, the medical FFP2 mouth masks are even mandatory in public transport and in shops. “We don’t think so much about citizens and/or patients, because the mask requires some exercise. You should not make mistakes with it and you should also change the mask after a few hours of wearing.”
Minister for Medical Care, Tamara van Ark, said in the Chamber this week that wearing FFP2 masks is “very burdensome”.
Westerlaken says about this difficult wearing: “I hear that it gets used to. And I say: rather a little stuffiness from the mask than real breathing distress from corona.” She advocates the construction of a large stock of specific masks. “Although there are already enough masks ready – the ministry confirms that – I am in favour of an iron stock.”
RIVM is currently not recommending the FFP2 masks in the care sector. Next week there will be a consultation with the hospital industry and a reassessment will follow, according to the RIVM spokesman against Nieuwsuur.