Which masks are used in the healthcare sector?
Two types of face masks are in use in the Dutch healthcare sector:
- Respirator masks, FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3 standard: these close-fitting masks are intended to protect the care provider. They are worn when performing high-risk treatments, for instance in Intensive Care (IC).
- Surgical masks: these masks are ususally used for the protection of the patient. In some cases, they may now also be used to protect the care provider. You can read which type of face mask can be used in which situation in the Dutch government factsheet (in Dutch) ‘Which face mask is required when?’.
FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 standard face masks
Respirator masks come in 3 protection classes: FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. FFP2 and FFP3 masks are Personal Protective Equipment standard masks.
Producing face masks: comply with the official requirements
Face masks can only be used in healthcare if they meet stringent requirements. These requirements are described in standards, that are managed by the Dutch standardisation institute NEN.
- Respirator masks must comply with the EU standard NEN-EN 149. The Netherlands Labour Authority monitors that this standard is observed.
- Surgical masks must comply with the EU standard NEN-EN 14683. The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate monitors that this standard is observed.
Register your product at the Landelijk Consortium Hulpmiddelen
Resellers, suppliers, importers, and manufacturers can register face masks for medical use at the LCH (in Dutch, Landelijk consortium hulpmiddelen), the national consortium for medical help devices. The LCH is an initiative of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, hospitals and medical help devices suppliers. Medical devices are purchased and checked jointly.
Producing face masks: check existing patents
If you want to produce face masks, first read about patents (in Dutch). You can view patent applications in the patent database Espacenet free of charge. You can ask for a patent advisor's help browsing the database. If a patent is registered in the Netherlands, you cannot copy that patented product or sell it without permission. That is a breach of patent law. If a patent is registered in other countries than the Netherlands, you can copy the product for use on the Dutch market. A patent is valid for a maximum of 20 years. After that, you can also use a Dutch patent for your own product.