Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to raise concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) in social care settings and asking him to clarify when the social care sector will receive the PPE it needs.
Responding to concerns that staff providing vital social care both in the home (domiciliary) and residential care homes Pat McFadden MP and his staff contacted a number of care homes and domiciliary care providers in his constituency of Wolverhampton South East on 31 March.
He found that although the Prime Minister said in Prime Minister’s Questions on 25th March that care workers would have their PPE “by the end of the week” that this is not the case. Many care providers did not have the PPE they needed and some were running out of the supplies that they had. While they had been supplied with some face masks they did not have enough and they are, with some difficulty, desperately trying to source more masks, gloves, aprons and hand gel themselves.
Pat McFadden said ““I know Ministers are under huge pressure but it is absolutely vital that social care workers have the PPE they need. We spoke to over 20 local providers and most said they were short of this equipment in one way or another. The Prime Minister told Parliament last week that they would have what they need by now. That hasn’t happened and it is urgent that these workers get what they need to help them do their jobs safely and to help in the battle against this virus.”
The full text of the letter is:
Dear Prime Minister,
All of us recognise that this is an unprecedented time with Ministers having to take major decisions at a fast pace, and many different issues being raised every day.
One of the issues raised most consistently has been PPE for NHS and social care staff. Understandably attention has been focussed on frontline NHS workers in hospitals who need proper supplies of high quality material.
But it is also the case that staff in care homes and those providing domiciliary care require PPE. They too are on the frontline of the battle to protect people and minimise the spread of the virus.
Both home and residential care workers look after some of the most vulnerable people in society, many of whom are at particular risk of getting the virus. The NHS also depends on properly functioning care services to help support people in the community and get them back out of hospital when they no longer need to be there.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 25th March, you said that care workers would have their PPE “by the end of the week”. However, when I and my team contacted a number of local care homes and care providers in Wolverhampton South East on Tuesday 31st March many did not have the PPE they needed and some were running out of the supplies they had. They do not know when more supplies will arrive and are desperately trying to source masks, gloves and alcohol gel to safeguard residents and staff.
Local care providers have received some masks but many said they did not have enough and all said they needed other PPE such as aprons, gels and gloves.
I do appreciate the pressures you are under but you have said this issue will be addressed. It must be as a matter of urgency. All providers need clear advice about the PPE care workers should expect to receive, and by when it will be delivered.
I would be grateful if you could clarify when the social care sector will get the PPE it needs.
Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP
Wolverhampton South East