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PPE shortage in care homes continues to raise concerns

4th May 2020

The COVID -19 Pandemic has brought to the forefront the challenging work that frontline workers in care homes across the UK do every day and how much the UK relies on them to care for elderly and vulnerable family members. Community has been shocked and disappointed to hear members are being asked to put their lives at risk because of a PPE shortage.

Unfortunately, this shortage is not specific to individual care homes but is prevalent across the entire care sector. In the last two weeks, Community members in one care home in London have been speaking out about the risks they have been expected to take. In one such example, care workers were asked to go to hospital to feed a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 – unfortunately, this patient later died however their room in the care home has not been deep cleaned and staff have been expected to continue to use that room. Care workers have also been told to only use PPE if someone is showing symptoms.

“It’s like the government are putting care workers to the bottom of the pecking order – it’s like we don’t matter,” said one care worker, speaking anonymously to ITV London.

“It is very frightening and everyday you go to work and wonder what you’re going to take home,” said another.

Community has been in direct contact with the employer and has also contacted the local council leader and raised the issues in the media.

Elsewhere, Community members at the Lime Tree House care home in Peckham are having to rely on generous donations of PPE from businesses and individuals. A local Head Teacher, Lee Mason Ellis, who is the CEO of Pioneer Academy School had anticipated that his own school might need additional PPE and had ordered additional stock back in January – however, with school closures they are no longer in need of all of it and he kindly donated the masks, gloves, goggles and hand sanitiser to the care home. This donation was warmly received by Waheed Ade the Supervisor of the care home – pictured below alongside Lee Mason Ellis.

Waheed Ade the Supervisor of the care home – pictured alongside Lee Mason Ellis

Community National Organiser Ted Purcell said:

“It is amazing to hear of the generous donations of PPE to care homes across the UK – they will quite literally save lives. I would like to say thanks on behalf of all of us at Community to our members working in social care for continuing to attend work at such a challenging time, and every single day delivering such a professional service. From highlighting the PPE shortage to ensuring our members are safe at work, now more than ever throughout this ongoing pandemic it is even more important to join a union and let us speak out on your behalf.”

We want to hear your stories at work and in the community since the outbreak of COVID-19, you can share your stories by getting in touch.

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