Council chiefs urged to sign life-saving social care pledge

UNISON is urging councils to sign up to a “life-saving” pledge protecting care workers.

The union has called on all county councils and unitary authorities across the east of England to commit to a set of minimum standards that will help protect care workers and service-users against the spread of coronavirus.

They include priority testing for social care workers carried out in work time and with transport paid, suitable personal protective equipment, full pay during self-isolation and carers leave on full pay for workers caring for a dependent with Covid 19.

Official figures released this week show that over 10% of confirmed Covid 19 deaths in the east of England took place in care homes and the wider community, although the real number may be higher due to low levels of testing outside of hospitals.*

The Office for National Statistics figures suggest the death rate is increasing faster in care homes than hospitals.

UNISON Eastern head of local government Sam Leigh said: “Care workers are on the front line in the fight against Covid 19, risking infecting not just themselves and their families but also the vulnerable people in their care.

“Many of them are seriously concerned at the lack of suitable protective equipment and the risks they might pose to those they’re supposed to be looking after.

“By properly protecting care staff we’re in a better position to properly protect care users.

“That’s why we’re asking councils to sign this life-saving pledge to help stop the spread of Covid 19 among some of the region’s most vulnerable residents.”

Stop the spread