AMA calls for mandate on P2/N95 masks for healthcare workers

13 Aug 2020

The AMA has demanded that healthcare workers treating known, or likely COVID-19 patients, must be provided with P2 or N95 particulate filter respirator masks, rather than standard surgical masks.

AMA Federal President, Dr Omar Khorshid, demanded the mandated use of filter respirator masks for COVID-19 patient care in response to guidelines issued by the Infection Control Expert Group, recommending filter respirator masks in areas of community transmission for care of patients with challenging behaviours only.

“The guidelines infer a surgical mask is sufficient for doctors and nurses working with patients who likely have the virus, unless those patient’s demonstrate challenging behaviours,” Dr Khorshid said.

“P2 or N95 masks filter and best prevent virus transmission. If a doctor or nurse is caring for a patient with, or likely to have, COVID-19, P2 or N95 masks are essential, regardless of the presence of potential challenging behaviours. 

“The revised guidelines on use of masks by healthcare workers in areas of COVID-19 community transmission do not assure sufficient clinician safety.”

In calling on the Infection Control Expert Group to strengthen its mask guidance for COVID-19 patient care, Dr Khorshid also called for greater effort to assure healthcare worker safety.

“Governments must commit to zero healthcare worker deaths. Doing so requires sufficient supply of appropriate personal protective equipment,” Dr Khorshid said.

Read the full media release here.