The Government will deliver 250,000 clear face masks to frontline NHS and social care workers to help them communicate with people with conditions such as hearing loss and dementia.
The transparent masks are made from plastic with an anti-fogging barrier, meaning patients will be able to see the mouth of the wearer as they speak.
This will help the millions of people with hearing loss who need to use lip reading to communicate, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
In May, a group of nine charities said using transparent face masks could prevent “months of misery” for deaf people, calling for clear face coverings to be commissioned.
People with learning disabilities, dementia and autism may also benefit from the clear masks, as many rely on facial expressions to help them communicate.
The Government has said the masks will be delivered to NHS trusts and social care providers in the next few weeks.
All four countries in the UK will receive an allocation of the masks and deliveries have already begun.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Everyone using our remarkable health and care system deserves the best care possible and communication is a vital part of that.
“This pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the sector, so we are always on the hunt for simple solutions to support those giving and receiving care.
“The introduction of clear face masks will help overcome some of the difficulties carers wearing PPE are facing communicating with people who rely on lip reading.
“If this proves a success I look forward to increasing the supply to make sure whenever a clear mask is needed, there is one available.”
Published: 05/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub