We hope you are all keeping safe and well. Transmission and infections in Wirral continue to remain relatively low which is welcome news. We have just a few updates for you this week:
Updated PPE Guidance for Dom Care Workers
The Government has issued updated guidance regarding the use of PPE for domiciliary care worker that is anyone:
- ‘visiting’ or ‘hourly’ homecare (that is, where care workers visit individuals where they live)
- ‘extra care housing’ and ‘supported living’ schemes
- directly employed personal assistants
- ‘live-in’ homecare
- ‘extra care’ housing schemes
This guidance is now clear that fluid repellent surgical mask (Type IIR) must be worn for each visit where you are carrying out personal within 2 metres of an individual. If you do not come within 2 metres a surgical mask (Type II) must be worn for each visit. You must be provided with a sufficient supply to cover your full shift.
There may be challenges in following PPE recommendations and providing care particularly for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, autism and dementia. For example, face masks may cause distress which can result in behaviour that may cause harm to the client or others. A comprehensive risk assessment should be undertaken for each client identifying the specific risks for them. Exemptions on wearing face coverings in public are covered by regulations that do not apply to care settings. Where people may have difficulty wearing masks as required by this guidance, this should be discussed between you and your employer. If a mutually agreeable position cannot be reached to comply with the guidance, employees can refer to ACAS for resolution. We recommend you do this through your union representative.
The full guidance can be found here: PPE for care workers delivering domiciliary care during COVID-19
Twice Weekly Testing
Everyone in England will be able to access free, twice weekly, rapid coronavirus testing from 9 April. Over 100,000 businesses in England have registered their interest to provide rapid tests to their employees, and the offer of free testing is being expanded to all companies with over 10 workers where on-site testing is impossible; this will been that most of our members will be able to access the test from your employer. A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home.
If testing at home, you will need to register their results online or by calling 119. You should self-isolate if positive and order a confirmatory PCR test. Please also refer to our previous emails for accessing the Self Isolation Support Payment if applicable.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test online or by calling 119.
Local Elections – Postal Votes
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge pressures on all of us. It is understandable that, for the 2021 elections, many people are worried about visiting a polling station and standing in a queue for a long time – potentially increasing the risk of exposing themselves and their loved ones to coronavirus.By registering for a postal vote, you can help to make sure that you, your family and friends are all safe and, in reducing the numbers visiting a polling station on election day itself, help keep public service workers safe too.
If you forget to post your postal vote in time for it to arrive on election day, then you can still take it to a polling station – or to the town hall in your area before 10pm on the day, when polling stations close. You need to make sure you have completed it and sealed the envelope before handing it in.
Applying for a postal vote is really easy. You can find the application form on the government website at www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote – just print it out and send it to your local electoral registration office, which you can find at www.gov.uk/contact-electoral-registration-office. For Wirral it is Electoral Services Office, Ground Floor, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey.
The deadline for applying for a postal vote in England or Wales is 5pm on Tuesday 20 April.
We do hope you have a pleasant weekend and as always, please do share our updates with your colleagues and encourage them to JOIN UNISON if they haven’t already.
We’ll be back in touch soon with further updates.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Central email: email@example.com
Telephone: 666 3040, 07899713498 or 07899715085
Published on: April 9, 2021