More must be done to protect care homes from infection spread

Sick pay issues and heavy-handed employers increasing problems

Commenting on new analysis by University College London researchers for the government showing the extent of the spread of the UK coronavirus variant in care homes, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today (Tuesday):

“Care homes should ​have been inside a protective ring ​from the start. ​But this is ​sadly still not the case.

“​To make matters worse, many care workers only get statutory sick pay if they ​need to isolate away from work for safety’s sake. There​’s a chasm between government promises ​to curb infection spread and ​the reality on the ground.

“Vaccination is of vital importance. But the heavy-handed approach of a small number of care employers ​is undermining the rollout. Staff need encouragement if they’re to come forward, as in the NHS, not ​threats.

“These ongoing issues underline why care must be considered a core public service, on a par with the NHS, and given adequate funding.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, private and community sectors.

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