UNISON, the public services union, has given a strong welcome to today’s announcement by Nicola Sturgeon that priority testing is to be extended to homecare workers.
UNISON’s research in August revealed that many care at home workers had never been tested and infection rates among workers were running at 8%. Many knew service users who had died.
Peter Hunter UNISON Regional Manager said: “It is clear that homecare workers face a massive infection risk. They work in multiple domestic settings that are a known risk factor and they travel from house to house. For vulnerable service users, workers and the families this is a vital breakthrough that reflects UNISON’s call for testing. It will be a vital tool in saving lives and maintaining vital frontline services for the most vulnerable people in Scotland.
Frances Burns Social Care Leader and UNISON member said:“We launched our testing campaign in response to loud demands from homeware workers traumatised by their work during the pandemic and we are delighted our campaign will help to make the winter that bit safer for workers, service users and families everywhere”
Key research findings behind UNISON’s campaign for homecare testing:
· One in four care at home workers had a service user who became infected and one in five workers had a service user who died from Covid19
· 8% of all workers surveyed had been infected by Covid 19 and over one in three had a colleague who had been infected
· 14% of workers had experienced Covid19 symptoms and nearly one in three had been required to self isolate
· Two respondents reported knowing a colleague who had died from Covid
The infection rate for respondents is significantly higher than that for the population as a whole. The data for colleagues and service users is knowledge of impact rather than actual proportions of people affected. However, it does indicate that Covid 19 has had a profound and distressing impact on care at home services and service users. This is an individual and collective trauma from which it will take time to recover.
Todays revised testing strategy:
Peter Hunter, regional manager: 07903 814118
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 0794 664110
Trisha Hamilton communications officer: 07943 507307