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The RCSLT has been lobbying for the introduction of transparent face masks for use in health and social care settings over the past few months. Face coverings cause barriers to communication for people who need to lip read or use facial expressions to communicate. As services restart, the widespread use of face masks will also present difficulties when trying to support and develop someone’s speech, language and communication.
 
We are delighted to let you know that progress has been made. The government has agreed with us on the importance of transparent face masks, and has placed an order for transparent face masks for use across the United Kingdom. At present only one supplier has met all the health and safety standards, but it is hoped that others will meet these safety standards in due course.

We agree that it is important these rigorous standards are adhered to. It is essential that any mask is properly certified to ensure that SLTs and their service users are properly protected. 
 
What we know so far is that this transparent face mask is a single-use mask and it is to be used across health and social care settings. It is not an FFP3 level mask so FIT testing will not be required. The mask is not to be used in high-risk environments. The introduction of the transparent masks will be monitored for their use and impact. Guidance will also be produced on how transparent masks can support and enable better communication between health and care professionals and their clients.

RCSLT statement on clear face coverings
 
Please look out for further updates across RCSLT communications channels