Sussex community carer believes industry could be main virus spreader and calls for more masks

An adult social care worker in Sussex believes her industry could be playing a big part in carrying and spreading the coronavirus and has called on the government to provide more masks.
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Registered manager and nurse Angela Wright, who works for Wealden Community Care Ltd which is based in Heathfield, said on Tuesday (April 7) that the 300 masks distributed by Public Health England in total for her team of 45 carers is ‘not enough’.

Wealden Community Care Ltd provides care for older people and people who have physical and mental health problems, in their own homes, according to their website.

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Mrs Wright said, “Three hundred masks for 45 staff is five masks in total each. That is it. It is not enough. We can’t buy more off the internet because there isn’t any. There is no way we are getting an emergency order.


“Paramedics are now wearing masks on every case but we can’t because we only have five each in total. Some of our carers are seeing seven or eight clients per shift. We need about 3,000 masks a month.

“I think what has happened is all the resources have been put into the NHS because people are dying, and adult social care is not looked at as key.

“We are running around to clients’ homes and we could be the carriers of this virus and spreading it. I don’t think the authorities and government realise this.

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“How can you give personal care when standing at least two metres back? We needs masks.”

Mrs Wright said she believes there has been a lack of communication between central government and local authorities to effectively distribute personal protective equipment and has raised the issue with Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani.

Mrs Wright said, “I think this has happened so fast. There is so much going on in community care and so many companies providing care that I do not think the authorities realised we would be using so much PPE.

“I think the authorities and Public Health England are unprepared for community carers. We are always at the back of the list.

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“I have written to Nusrat Ghani, who has been wonderful and is going to raise the issue in cabinet this morning (April 7).”

Mrs Wright said she would also like to see more virus testing on NHS staff and care workers.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We absolutely understand and share the concerns raised about the availability of PPE, an issue which is being experienced nationally.

“We have joined other councils across the country in pushing central government to address the shortfall in PPE and welcome the introduction of a new supply system for the region’s health and social care organisations, operated by logistics company Clipper.

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“We hope this will quickly address the supply issues. We have also been sourcing PPE ourselves wherever possible.

“In normal circumstances the county council would only be involved in the ordering of PPE for in-house staff, but we recognise the importance of those working for registered care providers having the correct equipment to keep them safe.

“We will continue to do everything we can to support those working in the social care sector with the resources made available to us.”

The Clipper Group did not want to comment.

Nusrat Ghani has been approached for more information.

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