Unison has claimed thousands of social care and council workers have contacted them with ‘harrowing’ stories around the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The trade union has reported that public sector workers have called their ‘PPE alert hotline’ in the last week expressing anxiety at the lack of gloves, masks, eye protectors and gowns where they work.
According to the trade union, many say they’re scared that without the right protective equipment, they risk catching the virus and passing it on to their families, or the elderly and vulnerable people they work with and care for.
The trade union has now passed the testimonies from staff working in hospitals, schools, care homes and out in the community, including social workers, teaching assistants, refuse collectors and police staff, to health secretary, Matt Hancock.
In a letter accompanying the harrowing, general secretary Dave Prentis has urged the government to ensure without delay that staff get the necessary protective kit and reassure them supplies are on their way.
‘We can’t go another week with health workers, care staff and those providing key local services feeling exposed to harm,’ said Mr Prentis.
‘The safety of NHS and care workers is absolutely critical – they are leaving their families this Easter to care for the loved ones of others in the most difficult circumstances imaginable. The very least they deserve is the equipment needed to keep them safe.
‘It’s tragic to see deaths of public services workers and the people they support over the past few weeks. Unless the government can get to grips quickly with supply problems, the numbers dying could spiral,’ he added.
‘Staff care deeply about the elderly and vulnerable they look after. But the lack of protective equipment for those working in such close contact with others means lives are being put at risk,’ added Mr Prentis.
‘While most are safe at home, NHS and care staff are being scared out of their wits for fear of contracting and passing on the virus at work and to their loved ones.’
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