Responding to comments made today (Thursday) by the health secretary to the Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:
“Matt Hancock has rather a selective memory. There was no protective ring. In the early days of the pandemic social care was left completely high and dry.
“Terrified staff spent weeks without access to proper protective kit. Supply shortages forced care workers to either buy or make their own safety gear from whatever they could lay their hands on.
“To make matters worse, early government guidance was confusing and at times unfathomable. There were also huge delays introducing testing for staff, and more than a year on, thousands of care workers still don’t get proper sick pay.
“This is not a government that did its utmost to protect the care sector. Big mistakes were made with dire consequences. That’s why the public inquiry must start gathering its evidence sooner than next year.”
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, voluntary and private sectors.