7.15 Physical distancing

All staff working within NHSScotland healthcare facilities, including non-clinical areas, must maintain 2 metres physical distancing wherever possible.  This does not apply to the provision of direct care where appropriate PPE should be worn in line with section 7.5

Outbreaks amongst staff have been associated with a lack of physical distancing in recreational areas during staff breaks and when car sharing.  There are many areas within healthcare facilities where maintaining 2 metres physical distancing is a challenge due to the nature of the work undertaken.  Where 2 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained, staff must ensure they are wearing face masks/coverings in line with the extended use of facemasks guidance. See section 7.5.1.

Staff must adhere to physical distancing as much as possible and should;

7.15.1 Engineering & Administration control measures in healthcare settings

Boards and departments should apply administrative controls to establish separation of patient pathways and minimise contact between the pathways. 

Due to the wide variance in the lay out, structure and fabric of NHS facilities across Scotland it is not possible to be descriptive in exactly how these should be applied and full assessment should be undertaken locally. 

The following bullet points provide guidance which boards and departments may use when considering how best to develop pathways and promote 2 metre physical distancing.

Screens may be used in clinical care areas to help segregate patients however installation of these must not hinder the ability of staff to observe their patients and must be assessed by fire officers and health and safety teams first to ensure all other regulations remain compliant.

There is limited evidence supporting the use of partitions for face-to-face interactions or between bed spaces, but it appears logical that a physical barrier can reduce contact between individuals and reduce the spread of infected particles from an infective source.