Carers looking after Dundee’s elderly fear coronavirus could “spread like wildfire” if they are not given supplies of correct equipment soon.
An outcry at lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for care workers across Scotland prompted crunch talks between unions GMB, Unite and Unison and the Scottish Government yesterday.
A statement issued later by COSLA stated carers should now be issued with appropriate PPE, including masks, even when working with people who show no symptoms of Covid-19.
That change cannot come soon enough for one Dundee care worker, who looks after elderly people with underlying health conditions.
“At the weekend we were given masks to see every client but now that has changed and we will only be getting one mask per shift,” she told the Tele.
“When we are in working the community, we have to dispose everything before we leave a client’s house. But they want us to use the same mask to go to upwards of ten clients?
“We’ve already had a confirmed case of Covid-19 in one of the houses in Dundee and I can see it spreading like wildfire.”
The Scottish Government issued an assurance yesterday that it will take all possible steps to issue appropriate PPE to Scotland’s social care workforce.
The carer, who works for Blackwood Homes and Care, said staff were now running out of even the most basic equipment, such as gloves.
“It’s scary. I’ve been caring for the elderly for well over 10 years and this is the first time I have not wanted to do my job,” she said.
“I am trying my best but God knows what I could be bringing home to my family.”
Blackwood Homes and Care said it was working hard to address staff concerns and was complying with new requirements but found itself “in the same position as other organisations”.
It was prioritising everything it could to ensure essential services are delivered while also keeping staff safe.
The spokesman added: “Our managers continue to speak to all staff to give reassurance while we wait for more orders to come in. We are conscious that staff and their families might feel anxious at this time.
“We are working with Scottish Care and Coalition of Care and Support Providers to ensure regular deliveries start coming through and will keep at this.”
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