Posted: Thu 16th Apr 2020

Flintshire Councillor slams health secretary’s ‘patronising’ badge offer to care workers

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 16th, 2020

A Flintshire councillor has slammed the UK health secretary for his “patronising” offer to give badges to care workers.

Matt Hancock yesterday announced the launch of a “badge of honour” to allow carers to identify themselves in a similar way to NHS staff.

However, the move has been met with a backlash at a time when concerns have been raised about the lack of protective equipment available to them during the coronavirus crisis.

Care Inspectorate Wales also revealed an increase in suspected COVID-19 cases among care home residents earlier this week.

The Conservative minister’s gesture has now been condemned by Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for social services, who has appealed for PPE donations for care workers in the county due to a shortage in supplies.

Labour’s Christine Jones said: “I just think it’s patronising – we don’t need a badge, we need financing, equipment and more testing.

“We don’t need a badge to know how brilliant we are or to get into a shop.

“We’ve always been the Cinderella service and never treated on par with the health service.

“All of a sudden they seem to realise that we’ve got care homes when I don’t think they’ve even acknowledged us in the past.”

Mr Hancock has defended the new badge which he said would be “a national symbol of support” for carers.

During a radio interview with LBC, he added it would also have practical consequences, including care workers being able to attend priority shopping hours at supermarkets.

But he attracted further criticism following reports that care home providers will have to pay £1.20 each for the badges – an issue which he promised to “look into”.

Meanwhile, Cllr Jones has offered her praise to care staff in Flintshire for the work they do.

The Sealand representative said: “We have wonderful staff who do this job every day come rain or shine, including in domiciliary care, home care, residential care, nursing care and extra care.
“You name it – our staff are there on a day to day basis.

“We’ve still got three homes in Flintshire which are council-run and are amazing.

“We’ve also got loads of independent ones who we support, we commission beds in, and we work really well with them.”

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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