“We’re last in line for vital protection”

WHILE health bosses are being accused of not revealing the full extent of coronavirus cases across the county, local care workers are no longer staying silent due to fears for safety over a lack of PPE when caring for the most vulnerable, “with very little or no protection at all” said one local employee.
“Issues with PPE doesn’t just exist in hospitals, staff in care homes and those employed to do house calls have absolutely nothing to protect them from while they work at close contact with those who are vulnerable and in the hands of their care” she explained.
Another concerned worker told the Herald, “It really does feel that we are always the very last to be thought about and totally forgotten in the chain of care and nursing, some workers in both domicillary care and nursing homes have been told specifically that they cannot wear PPE or visors because it is not accepted as part of their uniform.
“It would appear that both the health service and the private companies who employ carers don’t seem to care about our safety, there is a clear failure to protect workers, letting us be exposed by virtue of their work and having to wear recycled material that has been made into scrubs.”
Lisnaskea councillor Eamon Keenan, pictured below, told the Herald that he too has been contacted by a number of frontline workers with similar concerns – “We have seen the public outcry from the local NHS staff calling for PPE to be donated, so immediately myself and other members of Unite The Community Union Lisnaskea tried to source some,” he explained.
“We were then contacted by a lot of domicillary care workers who were mostly working for private companies and had been provided with very little PPE and were very afraid.
“Care workers from all local care companies started contacting us all with the same story, that they were working with very little PPE and were afraid of getting the virus, spreading the virus or bringing it home to their families because they had not been given the correct gear.
“At ‘Unite’ we see no other option but to make packs available for any local carers with hand santiser, masks and visors and scrubs if they want them. Quinn packaging donated plastic to make visors, Erneco in Derrylin cut the plastic and Turas Na nDaoine offered us a room in the Knocks School to assemble them. We soon got lots of volunteers and they are a credit to their community.”
• Do you work or does a loved one work in private healthcare and are you worried about levels of staff protection? Let us know by sending a private message to the Herald on Facebook

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