In July 2021, the NHS PPE Decision Making Committee approved the newly drafted specification for Thumb Loop Gowns (PDF Download).
The specification states:
This specification is intended to provide performance requirements for thumb loop aprons which exhibit sufficient mechanical properties, resistance to microbiological challenge, and resistance to chemical/liquid penetration for standard clinical use by healthcare staff. It is based on the “Essential technical requirements for new High-Volume Manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Devices (MD) during COVID-19” with additional microbiological and chemical penetration requirements taken from British Standards used for protective clothing. The terms thumb looped aprons and gowns are used interchangeably. In this document no distinction is made between these terms.
This document specifies design and performance requirements for fluid-resistant single-use Thumb Looped Aprons, also known as Thumb Looped Gowns, intended to provide fluid and splash protection for healthcare workers when undertaking healthcare procedures. This specification specifically excludes surgical and medical gowns. Thumb loop aprons are single transient use items, worn by healthcare workers for single episodes of care or other tasks in a healthcare environment. They may be used in situations where exposure to splashes, droplets and fluids containing infectious agents or chemicals is likely, such as endoscopy. Thumb looped aprons may also be used to protect medical or surgical gowns in the clinical environment. Thumb looped aprons are not intended for use in environments where they will be exposed to heat, sharp objects or significant mechanical stress.