5 May 2022

COVID-19: Agreement on transition to Green phase from 10 May

We are pleased to announce that each nation's health system has confirmed that they support a move to the ‘Green’ phase on Tuesday 10 May 2022. From then, the College’s COVID-19 Amber phase guidance will no longer apply in all UK nations.

You should follow the updated Guidance for Professional Practice and your nation’s infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings, which have all been recently updated. The GOC amber phase easements will no longer apply.

The following COVID specific measures should be stopped:

  • COVID-19 specific decontamination protocols
  • Physical distancing (already stood down in England and Scotland, TBC in Wales and NI)
  • COVID-19 modified eye examination, although we continue to encourage a needs-led approach in the Guidance for Professional Practice.

However, ‘living with COVID-19’ does not, mean a return to practice or business as it was before the pandemic. The ‘new normal’ incorporates the good practices established over the past two years which has been set out in the Guidance for Professional Practice. Coronavirus continues to be a serious disease with new variants, and future waves are predicted to continue for many more years.

The following measures will continue to apply: 

  • Universal masking. All staff should continue to wear a fluid-resistant face mask. UKHSA recommend that all people/ patients visiting health care settings should continue to be recommended to use a face covering.
  • Regular asymptomatic lateral flow device testing, as recommended by your nation’s health system.
  • Maintaining high standards of infection prevention and control procedures, including good hand hygiene, decontaminating equipment after use or contact with a patient and keeping up to date with the recommended immunisations.
  • A mechanism is in place to enable people with symptoms of respiratory infection to postpone their eye care unless it is urgent or an emergency.

This article was correct at time of publication. 

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