Government failings over protective kit meant lives were lost

Care workers were forced make their own safety kit, buy it themselves or go without

surgical mask and rubber gloves

Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report published today (Wednesday), which says frontline workers’ lives were put at risk by government failings over personal protective equipment (PPE), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: 

“In the rush to protect the NHS, ministers forgot about social care. Staff were left without the PPE they needed, with deadly consequences.

“Care workers were forced make their own safety kit, buy it themselves or go without, putting themselves, their families and the people they looked after at huge risk. The distress and fear this caused cannot be overstated.

“The PAC makes clear many lives were lost because of government failings. There must be a public inquiry to hold those found lacking accountable for their inaction and learn lessons.

“But if one positive can come from such a tragic episode, it must surely be the chance to transform social care.

“Care of the elderly and the vulnerable should never have been cast out to a fragmented, dysfunctional private sector. Major reform to create a national social care service mirroring the NHS is needed now.”

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.

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