Falkirk care home staff concerns over senior managers and PPE

The GMB trade union says care home staff in Falkirk feel spot checks by senior management are putting them at risk of infection and increasing anxiety levels during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 10th July 2020, 12:40 pm
Updated Friday, 10th July 2020, 12:44 pm

In a letter of complaint to Falkirk Council, GMB Scotland organiser David Hume says several staff in council care homes have contacted him to complain about the conduct of senior managers.

The union members allege that two managers have been travelling together to make the unannounced checks and not wearing the correct PPE while doing so.

Falkirk’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) denies the union’s claims and says its managers wear the correct PPE at all times.

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Care home staff are concerned about managers not wearing PPE

But Mr Hume says his members are telling him a different story.

He said: “At a time where the nation has recognised and appreciated the hard work and dedication shown by care workers, senior management in Falkirk Council have instead treated them with suspicion while placing them at risk, this is unacceptable.

“These spot-check visits are unnecessary as each home is staffed with experienced, skilled professionals who know their role and any guidance from senior management can be done so remotely.”

“This is creating a climate of fear amongst the hardworking staff in those homes and it is placing both our members and the residents at risk of infection.”

Members have also told the union that management have taken people into meetings in small rooms where social distancing is impossible.

The union says the practices are causing huge anxiety to staff who are already under huge pressure looking after some of the most vulnerable people in Falkirk.

Mr Hume added: “The effect that these spot checks are having on the morale and confidence of the staff cannot be understated.

“These workers are carrying out the most crucial role in the most difficult circumstances and should be lauded, not put under the microscope.

“They are experienced professionals who should be treated as such and in my view, this style of management is petty and self-defeating.”

A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Partnership said they are required to make the unannounced inspections.

In a statement, they said: “Senior managers are carrying out unannounced visits to our care homes in line with the Scottish Government directive.

“While we understand these visits can cause some anxiety amongst care homes staff, they are essential to ensure the safety and protection of our care home residents during this pandemic.

“PPE is being utilised and staff have been issued with uniforms to wear while doing these visits.

“Managers are aware of the requirement to observe social distancing in the workplace, including care home visits.

“We will continue comply with the governance and assurance requests that are being implemented by the Scottish Government.”

According to a HSCP report, as of June 7 there had been 126 deaths recorded in Falkirk which mention Covid-19, of which 61 were in a care home.

To date 11 care homes for older people have had 159 residents tested positive and 10 care homes have had no positive cases.