Covid-19 Care Fatalities “Sad And Sobering” - GMB Warns Care Workers Are Being Failed
Responding to the latest National Records of Scotland figures concerning Covid-19 fatalities this afternoon (Wednesday 22 April), and the indications that one-third of these fatalities have occurred in care homes, GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said:
“The latest statistics on the number of fatalities in Scotland’s care homes are sad and sobering, and we are deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of the workers we represent.
“We wrote to the First Minister before the lockdown calling for a national social care strategy in anticipation of the scale of the challenges the sector would face. We did this as everyone understood the problems that existed in social care before this crisis because they were documented in the Fair Work Convention report over a year ago.
“We proposed this strategy should take responsibility for the provision and distribution of PPE, for testing across the sector and to ensure we have the capacity to deal with the inevitable demands. We received no response from the First Minister then and no response when we repeated this proposal as an accompaniment to our members survey results on PPE and mental health.
“Social care workers had to wait until five weeks after the first Covid-19 infection in Scotland to receive clear and unambiguous guidelines on PPE, and many still do not have the proper PPE to do their job safely. Furthermore, and more than two months after the first infection, there is still no robust testing programme for workers to help mitigate virus spread, sustain services and save lives. This is having a significant burden on the mental health and wellbeing of workers.
“It seems that government only starts to address these important issues of PPE and testing when they are faced with difficult questions, and while we welcome the intervention of the Health Secretary to change the policy on the testing of residents there must now be an urgent testing regime put in place for social care workers.
“But it all begs more difficult questions: Where exactly do our social care workers, many of whom are going through hell just now for less than £10 an hour, feature in the thinking of our government? And how can these workers, who care with dignity and professionalism for their services users in home and residential settings, not feel like they are being failed?”
Contact: GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447077