PPE provision condemned after care home worker suspected of having Covid-19 dies

Politicians have criticised the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) after a care home worker in Scotland with suspected Covid-19 died.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said access to protective clothing and equipment for health and social care staff is a “problem across Scotland”.

She called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action.

Sources confirmed a care home worker in Scotland suspected of having the virus has died.

Ms Baillie, who represents Dumbarton, said: “In this time of crisis, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those heroic health and care workers who risk their lives daily to care for and treat those in need.

Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“This very sad news will come as a great blow to the family and to my local community. My thoughts are with them and I share in their grief.

“It is clear that access to protective clothing and equipment for health and social care staff is a problem across Scotland.

“Supplies are rationed because there is simply not enough and the strategy appears to be determined by that shortage of supply, rather than what health guidance dictates.

“This is simply not good enough and is putting lives at risk. The Scottish Government must act urgently to protect our brave frontline workers. It is our duty to do so.”

The party’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said she has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for a guarantee on protective equipment.

“Social care staff are the unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. The death of a member of the social care family will be met with great sadness,” Ms Lennon said.

“Home carers in my region have been asked to use PPE sparingly due to scarce supplies. This is far from an isolated example and I have written to the First Minister today asking her to guarantee safe systems of work for all social care staff because lives are at stake.”

Hazel Nolan, an official of the GMB union, told the PA news agency: “It would be inappropriate to comment on any individual case. We do not know the facts and there is a family we must consider in all this.

“Advice to home carers was only changed at the end of last week under pressure from GMB Scotland. Advice and guidance to home care workers has been resource-led, not science-led. It was about the lack of PPE, not the need for it.”

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