Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that much needed changes to PPE provision are to be introduced for the care sector.
Previous guidance that had been issued by the Chief Nursing Officer to those working in the care sector – including in care homes and at-home care visits – said that workers only needed to wear face masks when around confirmed covid-19 patients. For all other patients, only gloves and an apron was necessary.
There was a backlash from those working in the care sector and from their trade unions, who were strongly of the view that this guidance was simply wrong and failed to consider the fact that care workers can be coming into contact with asymptomatic people. The Scottish Government has subsequently withdrawn the previous guidance.
New guidance has been issued after an agreement was reached between trade unions, the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. This guidance allows for all care sector staff to wear protective masks where they feel it is appropriate, in line with their individual professional judgement.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“I welcome this change to guidance for those in the care sector but I am angry that it has taken the deaths of both care sector workers and patients for the Government to realise that the previous guidelines were ineffective.
“It was unacceptable that the Scottish Government put care workers and service users at risk by its failure to provide adequate protective equipment. It is now right that the Scottish Government will defer to the professional judgment of care sector staff as to the appropriate use of PPE.
“The challenge for the Scottish Government is to back up their intentions with practical action and ensure that PPE is available to every care sector worker.
“As ever, my thanks and best wishes goes to all of those fighting this awful virus in our care sector and across our NHS and urge members of the public to continue following advice and stay home in order to not put extra strain on the vital services being delivered by these key workers.”