Social care workers are at the forefront of the struggle against COVID-19. Care workers put themselves at risk to provide direct care and support to vulnerable service users. Social care workers need the correct support, training, equipment and full sick pay to enable them to give critical care and prevent the spread of disease.
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The branch has also raised issues with our Intergrated Joint Board (IJB) from our social care members in both the council and the community and voluntary sector (CVS).
We have raised issues about PPE as well as issues about van sharing and inconsistencies across the Shire and throughout the CVS. We have been particularly concerned about our members working for private providers.
The branch has heard from these members across a number of providers that PPE is still not being made available to them in care homes and in the community. Managers citing that they cannot get any or it is not needed.
Some staff are unable to follow the national guidance to self assess whether masks are necessary because there are insufficient supplies.
Some providers have been giving staff misinformation on PPE and still seem to be applying the previous national guidance which was changed on 2nd April. For example, we have been told that one company has verbally advised staff that PPE is only necessary if someone is suspected of having Covid-19. This is outdated guidance which leaves staff and service users at risk.
There seems to be little consistency across the different providers, with some having adequate supplies of PPE and others very little.
The IJB has put out guidance on supplies of PPE to private providers and we welcome this. However we believe that further action needs to be taken to protect our members, other staff and service users.
The branch has asked that the IJB, as the commissioners of these services, more proactively ensure that PPE is available to the degree required by guidance in all privately run care homes and community services
We have asked that the daily report from providers is amended to specifically include a request for information on the availability and supplies of PPE in each service, and that this information is collated and shared with the unions on a weekly basis.
We have also asked the IJB to ensure that commissioned services are keeping up to date with the national guidance and are training their carers accordingly and that the IJB issues guidance on this and specifically the requirements for PPE, and ask providers to confirm that they are following this.
We are awaiting a response.
Branch co-chair, Kate Ramsden said, “We do appreciate that these are very difficult times for everyone, but especially for those working and living in care settings.
“The primary duty is to the safety of staff and service users so we believe that steps must be taken to ensure guidance is followed and PPE is available to all staff.”
The branch will also be keeping in touch with our members in these services and will be monitoring developments. If you have any comments or issues to bring to our attention please email firstname.lastname@example.org