Community Health and Safety Home Care News

UNISON secures win for carers as Scottish government PPE guidance is withdrawn

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UNISON Scotland, along with other unions, has secured agreement from the Scottish Government that the PPE guidance agreed across the four UK nations applies, that the Chief Nursing Office’s contradictory guidance is withdrawn and that home and social care workers will get the PPE they need to do the vital jobs they are doing to keep us all safe.

You will have seen from the previous post that UNISON Scotland has taken the lead in securing this and ensuring that the national guidance, which is more protective of our members, can stand.

The Chief Nursing Officers letter would have seen Scottish home and social carers receive less protection than their UK counterparts and had the potential to put them and their patients at increased risk of Covid19.

The Scottish Government and Chief Nursing Officer have now given their commitment that home and social carers can wear a fluid resistant face mask along with any other appropriate PPE they feel is necessary in carrying out their work. The Scottish Government advice says they trust the professional judgement of home and social carers in assessing the correct level of PPE required for the tasks they are undertaking.

Johanna Baxter, UNISON head of local government in Scotland said: “We are pleased that the Scottish Government have responded positively to the concerns UNISON raised, that the four-country guidance issued on Thursday 2nd April stands and the letter from Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer, sent to COSLA on Sunday 5th, has been withdrawn. We will always stand up for our members and we will always fight to protect them. It is not acceptable that home and social care workers were put through this further anxiety. Their jobs are stressful enough.

Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON Scotland local govt committee said: “We should never have got to this position but it has been UNISON leading on this issue and we are pleased we have now secured this resolution.  However we also know that difficulties remain with the supply of Personal Protective Equipment.  We are continuing to raise this with the Scottish Minister too and she has committed to addressing this.”

We are asking members to continue to let us know about any workplace issues by speaking to their workplace representatives or going on our website: 

UK Govt guidance COVID-19 PPE:

A visual guide to safe PPE: