Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, has been contacted by a number of West Dunbartonshire care home staff who believe that they are passing on Covid-19 to care home residents due to a lack of testing and support from the Scottish Government.
Whistle-blowing care home staff have confidentially shared their fears that they are putting residents at risk due to the fact that care homes are requiring staff to move between units within homes. Staff are forced to go from units where the virus is present to work in other units that have no confirmed cases without first being tested themselves to confirm that they are not carrying and passing on the virus.
Furthermore, care home staff who are employed through staffing agencies are being made to move between homes within the local authority. These staff are also not being tested before entering new homes. Staff have expressed fears that they are risking both their own health and the health of the residents that they take care of.
In addition, a family member of a care home resident also contacted Jackie Baillie to express similar fears. They confirmed that they had an elderly family member who was under isolation in a West Dunbartonshire care home and who has only been in contact with care home staff. This resident, having been well for months during their period in isolation, has now tested positive for Covid-19.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“These brave, vital staff are being put in impossible positions and are forced to risk both their own health and the health of those around them. It is becoming clear that staff are carrying the virus without knowing it and are caring for the most vulnerable in our society without being tested first. There is no other explanation for residents who have been in isolation for months now testing positive for Covid-19.
“The Scottish Government must immediately commit to the daily testing of all care home staff to ensure that no one is unwittingly infecting anyone else. The last thing that these hardworking staff would want to do is pass on this virus to those that they are caring for – but until they are offered easy access to regular testing, they have no other choice.
“I, along with care home staff and families, have been calling for widespread testing of care home staff and residents for months now. The Scottish Government and care home managers have failed to act. As a result we have seen the care home death toll rise exponentially.
“My thanks goes to social care staff who are doing everything in their power to keep vulnerable patients safe – it’s time the Scottish Government followed their example.”