Labour demand social care workers are urgently provided with protective equipment from Covid-19

Labour has demanded social care workers are urgently given the protective equipment they need to keep them safe from Covid-19.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth (pictured) and shadow health minister Barbara Keeley have called on the Government to step up their efforts to protect care workers.

It comes as thousands of former social workers have been re-registered by the professional regulator to support their communities.

Labour says deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) for carers this week have been inadequate.

The party also called for clear guidance around Covid-19 testing for care home residents and those discharged from hospitals to care homes, in order to control the spread of the virus.

In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, they wrote: “There are deep concerns across the social care sector about the lack of availability of PPE for care staff.

“Although we note that all care homes were meant to receive a delivery of face masks over the weekend, some did not and providers have made it clear that 300 masks will last for only a few days.

“It is vital that care providers receive supplies of full PPE. Face masks are not enough to keep staff safe.

“Care staff also need gloves, aprons, and in some cases face visors or goggles to ensure they are fully protected.”

Julia Scott, chief executive of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, said the issue is not just to do with the amount of equipment available, but also the quality of the PPE that is being supplied.

She said: “Like many other key health and care professions, they are risking their own health and wellbeing in people’s homes, hospitals and care homes in order to support people as they recover from coronavirus.

“The stories we have been hearing from members when it comes to access to PPE are extremely concerning.”

Last week, 12 allied health professional bodies, representing more than 150,000 healthcare staff including paramedics and occupational therapists, wrote to the Health Secretary demanding better PPE for their members.

Meanwhile, Social Work England, the regulator for almost 100,000 social workers in England, has temporarily reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so they can fill vital roles in local communities across England.

Colum Conway, chief executive of Social Work England, said: “This is a huge joint effort with all of our partners to get social workers back into practice and to people who need their support, as fast as possible, without compromising standards or safety.

“People who need support in our society are more vulnerable than ever right now.”

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