Posted: Thu 23rd Apr 2020

Updated: Thu 23rd Apr

Care workers given home-made PPE which ‘look like they are out of a Christmas cracker’ claims trade union

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Care workers fighting coronavirus are being given home-made PPE items which “look like they are out of a Christmas cracker”, says a trade union.

Unison has a network of around 600 workers in Wales reporting on conditions in care homes, and the union says some are being offered sub-standard personal protective equipment.

Daily reports from care staff to the trade union complain at the inadequacy of the equipment provided.

Following reports of crude, hand-made goggles and home-made disinfectant and hand sanitiser, it says says it has written to Health Minister Vaughan Gething to ask for his “urgent intervention”.

Mark Turner, social care lead officer at Unison Wales, said: “The failure in provision of appropriate PPE across social care in Wales is staggering and could cost lives.

“Unison has reports ranging from care workers being expected to assemble their own protective goggles from flimsy materials to workers being provided with home-made disinfectant distributed in drinking bottles.

“Some care workers have told us they’re expected to re-use PPE, with at least one example of someone being advised to keep their single-use face mask in a zip-locked sandwich bag for use on their next shift.

“These practices are not safe and not in line with PPE guidelines. It really is worrying for care workers and the vulnerable people relying on these services that such practices are still going on when we are so far into the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We continue to receive reassurances there is enough PPE but, if this is the case, it is clearly not being distributed effectively.

“It is essential all care workers have the protective equipment they need. Welsh Government and councils have a duty to ensure private and non-profit care providers comply with PPE guidelines.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething admitted there were only a few days stock of PPE yesterday.

It is still not known what the level of infection within care homes is, as many potential coronavirus sufferers are not being tested.

The trade union says the complaints are so worrying, it intends to undertake a survey of care workers across Wales so a comprehensive picture can be presented to Welsh Government.

Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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