COVID-19: Masks will become personal choice, says Robert Jenrick (BBC)

Iqra Ali
July 16, 2021

From the 19th of July, wearing a face covering will become a personal choice in England. People will still be encouraged to be wear them, particularly on public transport, but for now it seems it will not be a legal requirement and no fines imposed if they are not worn. Other areas of the UK have their own guidelines, with Scotland stating that restrictions will be eased but face coverings will still be required.

Food for Thought

Can the public be trusted to use their personal judgement?

Making face masks a personal choice returns people's autonomy to them, as they have the freedom to choose whether they want to cover their face and protect themselves and others from potential risk. We will now relying on people being sensible, trusting them to put their mask on if they are in a crowded environment. Do you think this is a good idea? Can people be trusted to do this, or are they simply tired of wearing masks? Is it still too early to make masks optional? 

Wearing masks in a medical setting

Patients and doctors will continue to wear masks in a clinical setting. This presents many problems to the doctor-patient relationship. Can you think of any? Why is it important to read a patients body language and facial expressions in a hospital? What kinds of patients are alienated the most with the use of masks? Consider deaf or hard-of-hearing patients who rely on lip reading, or patients who may speak a different language. How may you resolve these communication problems as a doctor? 

Practice Interview QUestions
  1. Do you think face masks should be a mandatory requirement until the pandemic has completely settled? Consider the advantages and disadvantages.
  2. What is the importance of non-verbal communication in healthcare?
  3. In what situation do you think it is acceptable to take away someone's autonomy when it comes to decisions about their health?

Author: Iqra Ali

Editor: Latifa Haque

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