A survey of more than 1,400 social workers has revealed a host of concerns, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The survey by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) found many people are reporting they have no personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hand sanitisers, leaving them fearing for their clients’ safety, their own safety and that of their loved ones.
Several social workers reported they had been given no hand sanitiser, and some had even resorted to buying their own.
One person said they’d been bringing a flask with hot water and some soap in her car on home visits.
Another said their team had been told to buy washing up bowls to fill with water and take on visits.
One social worker recently told Social Care Today that her employer had failed to provide her team with hand sanitiser and had even suggested they buy their own masks from the builders’ merchant.
Another major issue revealed by the survey is the confusion caused by a lack of guidance on how social workers can carry out their statutory duties while respecting the government’s lockdown directives.
This issue was repeatedly raised by all social workers the survey, revealing a widespread concern of the impact mass self-isolation and restrictions will have on the communities they serve.
These worries focused on the increased risks of abuse, neglect and mental ill health in households that use social services.
The survey has also revealed some social workers are turning to technology, video calls and other creative solutions in an effort to safeguard more people while remote working.
The preliminary results of the survey come as the Scottish Government announces more PPE equipment for social workers north of the border.
‘We needed to hear social workers worries, asks and successes throughout this unprecedented crisis, use this to influence sector decision makers and improve our support and guidance to them directly,’ said BASW chief executive, Dr Ruth Allen.
‘The survey has provided rich insight and is creating a dialogue across the sector. A key issue is recognition that social workers need to be kept well and able to serve alongside the doctors and nurses we hear much more about in mainstream media.’
To take part in the ongoing BASW survey, click here.
Photo Credit – OrnaW (Pixabay)