STUC: Latest meeting with Cabinet Secretary: Focus on major alarm at contradictory PPE guidance for home and social care workers. STUC demands immediate withdrawal of advice from chief nursing officer and urgent roll out of testing for care workers.
At the latest of its twice-week meetings with Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop, the STUC backed unions’ calls for the immediate withdrawal of advice issued by the Chief Nursing Officer yesterday, which contradicts UK-wide guidance for home and care workers that had been previously issued and welcomed by unions on 3rd Feb. This UK guidance made clear that home care staff and other care workers should have access to the appropriate PPE to make real-time assessment of the risk associated with the tasks they were being asked to complete and wear the appropriate protection. The supplementary guidance issued by Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer undermines the very clear guidance that had already been circulated.
STUC General Secretary Designate Rozanne Foyer said:
“Tragically, care home residents and care workers are falling ill and dying. The longer these mixed messages are in the public domain the more avoidable death and illness will increase. Unions in the sector are reporting some, frankly outrageous, breaches by individual employers particularly in residential care homes. This contradictory guidance simply fuels that fire of confusion which is causing widespread fear and anxiety among care workers.”
“I also made it very clear to the Cabinet Secretary that testing for social care workers needs to be rolled out as a priority. Care workers are in contact day and daily with the elderly and medically vulnerable. We can only guess at the large numbers of care workers who are visiting homes or providing residential care while having the virus. Equally there will be thousands more care workers self-isolating when a proper testing system could have them back at work and delivering care. It’s simply not good enough and its putting countless lives at risk.”
Unison Scotland press release