5.14 Physical distancing

All staff working with NHS Scotland healthcare facilities must maintain 2 metres physical distancing wherever possible.  This does not apply to the provision of direct patient care where appropriate PPE should be worn in line with section 5.6

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 in line with the extended use of facemasks 5.6.1.

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

5.13.1 Inpatient bed spacing and OPD chair spacing

Health Facilities Scotland have undertaken an assessment of bed and chair spacing within NHS Scotland facilities taking into account compounding factors applied in conjunction with physical distancing (patient placement, ventilation, hand hygiene, face coverings, environmental cleaning).  The purpose of this document aims to help support boards in reviewing bed spacing to ensure 2 metre physical distancing, or as close to it as possible, can be maintained for inpatient beds and treatment chairs.

Note: This assessment will be added to the addendum in the near future.

Existing SHPN 04-01 guidance relating to bed spacing can be found here and recognises that spacing requirements are in place to contribute towards the control of healthcare associated infections.  Published in 2010 it stipulates that dimensions of bed spacing in any new builds should meet 3.6m (width) x 3.7m (depth).  To achieve 3.6m between bed spaces, measurements should be taken from bed centre to bed centre.

5.13.2 Engineering and 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 layout, 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.