Care workers PPE agreement reached

Face mask

Unions have come to an agreement with the government that staff will be able to wear whatever they feel is necessary

9th April 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

An agreement has been reached over the equipment that social care staff should wear to help protect themselves and others from coronavirus.

Workers had been concerned by Scottish guidance which they said recommended that home care staff should only wear a mask when the person they were caring for was suspected of having Covid-19 and they were coming within two metres (6ft) of them. 

After days of negotiations UNISON Scotland, along with other unions, has secured agreement from the Scottish Government that the PPE guidance agreed across the four UK nations applies 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.

The Scottish Government and Chief Nursing Officer have 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on Thursday 2 April stands and the letter from Scotland's Chief Nursing Officer, sent to COSLA on Sunday 5, has been withdrawn.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.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The guidance published on 2 April and agreed by the four nations remains in place and all health and social care staff will continue to have access to appropriate PPE where they need it.

"The Scottish Government will agree a joint statement with Cosla and trades unions to underline that social care staff can wear protective masks where they feel appropriate in line with their professional judgement."

11th April 2020 by Sean Turner

My wife is a carer, employed by Dumfries Council. She visits service users in their own homes. Yesterday, 11.04.20 she was given one mask! Told that only to use if she suspects the service user has vivid 19!! My wife is not medically trained and has no way of knowing if a patient has the virus!! Utter nonsense, playing with lives!! Obviously the message has not reached our Council!! Where is the promised PPE?? My wife does not know I have written to you, she is far to nice a person to complain so for her and her colleagues I feel I had to say something.