|Care Workers Putting Their Own Lives At Risk'|
Putney MP demands urgent action to provide protective equipment
Fleur Anderson MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, has urged more support for care homes and care workers in the community during the Coronavirus crisis, saying: "The Government must provide more masks and visors urgently, and must change the advice that care workers do not need to wear protective equipment before their patients are showing symptoms."
Ms Anderson is in contact with local care homes and care providers, and care workers and shares their concerns about lack of PPE. The Council is providing some PPE but only when the government provides it to them, and for some workers is not enough and not regular enough.
In addition, unlike other NHS services care home providers have to pay VAT when purchasing PPE, adding to already highly inflated running costs at a time of national crisis.
Ms Anderson has also co-signed a letter with 58 other MPs to the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock about the lack of PPE available for care workers. Commenting on the situation facing care homes, Ms Anderson said: “The Government doesn’t seem to grasp that care homes are very much at the front line in the fight against Coronavirus. They need urgent support and proper guidance. The lack of PPE in particular is a scandal and must be rectified immediately so that care home staff can do their jobs safely. They must have protection before there are more cases in their care homes.”
Official figures on the number of deaths in care homes nationally are not yet available and the figure is not included in the NHS daily death toll bulletin. However, early estimates put care home deaths in the hundreds and rising.
Workers in a local homeless hostel where again staff have also not been provided with protective equipment. Roehampton resident Andrea Gilbert, pictured below, works for the St Mungos hostel said: “I was really worried about not having masks and visors as some residents have the virus. St Mungos were quite right to share the need and I could contact Fleur Anderson. She put St Mungos in touch with another local resident Fergal McEntee and the Helpful Engineers volunteers who are making visors themselves. Now I’m so relieved that we have the protection we need – and not only in Wandsworth but all the London hostels. I can’t thank Fleur and the Helpful Engineers enough.”
In addition to lobbying the Government on care homes and care workers, Ms Anderson has been campaigning for businesses, the self-employed and charities and voluntary organisations to receive greater support, for greater protection for employees being told they have to come into work and has been in regular contact with UK embassies across the world trying to get Putney residents home who are stranded abroad.
Putney's MP has also set up a Putney Coronavirus Mutual Support Group and there are over 1300 members helping each other now, with more joining every day. If you are interested, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/PutneyCoronavirus
If you are self-employed or run a small business and are unsure what support to available to you, the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce are also holding weekly online forums for local businesses to share their concerns, see here for the latest schedule: https://www.wandsworthchamber.org/calendar-of-events.html.
April 17, 2020