Audit review of fit testing for respiratory masks

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“We can confirm that an audit review of fit testing for respiratory masks is ongoing within the HSC system.

“This is being done on a precautionary basis.

“It has emerged that one independent contractor, which conducted Fit Testing of masks during the pandemic, had inadvertently applied on some occasions a fit-testing setting not normally used in Northern Ireland. This should have been readjusted to the UK Fit Testing requirements.

“We are advised that any risk to staff is likely to be low.

“The HSC system is now carrying out a validation and audit exercise of all fit-tests conducted by this independent contractor.

“The Public Health Agency has been asked by the Department of Health to undertake a Serious Adverse Incident review.

“Additional measures across the HSC will be put in place to review and monitor fit testing outcomes moving forward. Staff impacted will be informed and offered support. Fit testing will be carried out under the correct NI setting.

“We fully recognise that the issues raised may cause some concern and we very much regret that. We would again stress that these checks are being taken as a precautionary step to reassure staff that the masks are being fitted to the highest safety standards. Rigorous tried and tested procedures have been in place during the pandemic for staff to highlight any concerns if they feel their PPE equipment does not properly fit.

"Further information will be made public following the conclusion of the audit.”