Care workers in Dundee are afraid they are putting lives at risk while still waiting for protective equipment.
They claim they are being forced to care for vulnerable clients using only basic protection issued before Covid-19 safety measures were introduced.
One social care worker, who asked not to be named, said: “The situation is getting dire. We are all becoming very concerned, both for the safety of our clients, many of whom are elderly, and also for our own safety.”
“Social care workers still don’t have antibacterial supplies or face masks when caring for vulnerable clients.
“Often two are visiting together without two-metre distancing. The meal service is also still delivering meals with two workers in a van, with no distancing and no masks.
“They are still having to open lids and plate up meals. They are risking lives of clients and staff.”
Another source said workers were “toiling” to provide services using generic safety measures.
“They are toiling,” they said. “This is putting everyone at risk from contracting coronavirus.”
“I know of workers who are having to go into situations providing intimate care for clients and all they have are the goggles and aprons used previously, they have been given no extra protective equipment.
“I am also very concerned at the lack of guidance given to workers.”
Helen Meldrum, GMB Organiser for Tayside said: “The risk assessments in social care are a serious problem.
“I understand that some members have been advised they will be disciplined if they use their own soap as PPE is available, but the reality on the ground is that it’s just not there and that type of language is completely unacceptable.
“Social care workers are doing the best they can in extremely difficult circumstances and they should be commended not threatened.”
She added: “The guidance is clear in that if you are displaying symptoms then you must stay home, yet our members are being advised they must report for work. Employers may find themselves liable for any situation where they have placed their staff and the public in harm’s way.
“Members are being asked to visit homes where coronavirus is prevalent and either not being advised in advance, or attending then visiting lots of other service users.
“Our guidance to our members is do not enter a home without appropriate PPE and risk assess every situation. If they feel unsafe, then then the employer must do everything in their power to make it safe. Anything else is negligence on their part.”
A spokesman for Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership said: “These are unprecedented times globally and we are working hard to ensure services are delivered, but disruption is inevitably being caused.
“Based on guidance issued by the Scottish Government last week staff have been reminded what PPE to use, and in what circumstances, for the protection of vulnerable clients and themselves.
“Staff are working hard to deliver services to the people of Dundee in the face of major challenges and we would ask people for their patience and understanding at what is obviously a difficult time for everyone.
“In addition the commitment and dedication to provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in the city is greatly valued.”