Responding to new government guidance issued today (Monday) allowing frontline NHS and social care staff to work rather than self-isolate in exceptional circumstances, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:
“Rather than a hell-for-leather rush, changes to restrictions should have been managed sensibly in stages.
“Any moves towards changing isolation rules for health and care workers must be voluntary. Staff shouldn’t be bullied to come back.
“In the care sector, many reckless employers will see it as a green light to pressure staff who’ve been pinged to come into work.
“A reduction in isolation must go hand in hand with improved safety measures such as enhanced PPE, and staff must be regularly tested during working hours.
“With infections increasing, the public must continue to play their part in limiting Covid spread by wearing face masks.
“If care workers who’ve been in contact with someone with the virus are pushed back to work without proper safeguards in place, the consequences could be dreadful.
“Everything possible must be done to ensure staff in hospitals and care homes don’t bring in the virus or take it home. That includes making sure they are fully paid when sick or isolating.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, including in social care, 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.