Scotland was slow to remove mask mandates in the general population. The legal requirement to wear a mask in public spaces became ‘guidance’ on April 18th 2022 but continued as a strong recommendation in health and social care settings. This policy was again reviewed in June but mask-wearing continued to be strongly recommended, meaning that many residents in care homes possibly never saw an unmasked face for over two years. However, a concerted campaign has – finally – achieved a change in policy that should end routine mask wearing in social care settings.
Prompted by the disappointing review in June, and after two years of frustrating and fruitless communication with health and social care organisations in Scotland on the subject of harms caused by mask-wearing, I reluctantly sent an open letter to CEOs of Scottish health and social care organisations on July 19th, imploring them to urgently challenge the Scottish Government to end illogical and harmful mask-wearing policies.
I received non-committal responses from statutory organisations but one CEO was honest enough to tell me he had neither the “authority nor governance” to challenge Government policy. This was surely the fundamental source of the problem and the reason why my communications had been received with resistance or silence (but, rarely disagreement). This CEO promised to communicate my concerns with the Scottish Government but was clearly unable to include a personal opinion or to dissent from the organisation’s position. Indeed, two other CEOs stated they had neither the time nor resources to engage in this debate but wished me well in “my campaign” and asked to be kept informed of progress.