19 July 2020

Providing Mask Exemption Notes ‘Not A Good Use of GPs’ Time’, Says RCGP

Responding to reports that GPs are being asked to provide notes to exempt patients from wearing face coverings, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The College is, on balance, supportive of face coverings being mandatory in enclosed spaces, such as shops and public transport. However, we need to see clear guidance about the reasons that people might be exempt from wearing masks, and how they are expected to prove this, if challenged.

"It is concerning to hear reports that GPs are being asked to provide exemption notes for patients. Firstly, because it isn’t currently clear what the exemption criteria is, but also, this isn’t a good use of GPs’ time when we’re on the frontline of dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 and preparing for a potential second wave of the virus alongside expected winter pressures.

"We also need to see clear public messaging that wearing a mask is not an alternative to other measures, such as appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.