What is the SOR stance on radiographers treating patients who refuse to wear a mask or suitable face covering? In all settings, X-ray, CT, MRI, including aerosol-generating procedures? We face an increasing level of refusal and abuse from patients who refuse to wear anything provided. We have a local policy that patients must wear a face-covering in the hospital, but patients are increasingly refusing to wear one.
I would be interested to know if a radiographer refuses to undertake an examination what support they would receive from the SOR in this instance?
Asking an individual patient to wear a face-covering unless they have a legitimate exemption, protects the interests of other service users and carers, minimises risk and puts the safety and well-being of service users before others loyalties. This is entirely in line with the HCPC Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics.
When a patient refuses, no staff members should feel that they are putting themselves or other patients at risk from a health and safety perspective. If there isn't a policy in place to manage this, members should raise concerns with managers. A risk assessment should state what PPE staff should wear and whether that changes when a patient is wearing a face covering or not. Policies on violence and aggression should be in place already and applied if the patient is abusive.
There are legitimate reasons why a patient may not wear a face covering. The radiographer should not be in a position of refusing to treat a patient because they don't have adequate PPE or are the target for verbal abuse. The SoR would support any member who can not work safely and refuses to put themselves at risk.
The employing organisation has to decide how to manage patients who choose not to wear a face-covering. This should be expressed through local policies and risk assessments to keep staff safe. Members should record and report any concerns so that risk assessments and work processes are reviewed.