Spain is providing members of the public with free face masks as the country's tough lockdown rules, which have been in force for five weeks, begin to be relaxed.
Start Spreading The News (13/04/20)
New York's Governor, Andew Cuomo, announced yesterday that he would sign an executive order to direct employers at essential businesses to provide their employees with cloth or surgical face masks to wear when interacting with the public.
So, I think it's fair to ask why Scotland is at the coo's tail over face masks and PPE? - because the safety issues involved are exactly the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
DIY Approach To Health and Safety (10/04/20)
Here's the official advice on PPE for care staff and their service users which is to be followed in this stage of the Coronavirus pandemic - the advice applies to both home care and residential/day care settings.
"That guidance makes clear that social and home care workers can wear a fluid resistant face mask along with other appropriate PPE where the person they are visiting or otherwise attending to is neither confirmed nor suspected of having COVID19, if they consider doing so necessary to their own and the individual's safety - they are professionals and we trust their professional judgement.
"The guidance had input from Royal Colleges and is endorsed by expert scientific groups, as well as the Chief Medical Officers and Chief Nursing Officers in the UK."
Now this is a step forward if you ask me, because the previous official advice was that face masks were not necessary and should not be worn routinely.
But what puzzles me is this DIY approach on such a vital issue - for both residents and clients as well as care staff. If you ask me, it's a bit like having a voluntary smoking ban, or introducing rules about wearing hard hats, high vis vests and safety boots on building sites - which the workforce are free to comply with or ignore as they like.
Better Safe Than Sorry (09/04//20)
The Scottish Government's official advice to Home Care staff is to wear a face mask only if a client is suspected to be, or is confirmed to be, Covid-19 positive. The official advice goes on to say:
"Where the person is neither suspected to be, nor confirmed as COVID positive, care at home staff carrying out personal care should wear what they have always worn – that is, an apron and gloves; and no mask.
"This applies regardless of the 2m distance. The same would apply to a community nurse visiting the same client: they too would wear gloves and apron, and no mask.
"Furthermore, home care workers and community staff going into people’s houses should only wear a mask when they suspect the person has COVID, and they cannot keep a 2m distance.
"If this is not suspected – or if they can keep a 2m distance – then they do not need to wear a mask."
What puzzles me is how individual carers are supposed to know the state of every client's health before going into their homes - and how is it even possible for Home Carers to keep 2 metres distance from vulnerable clients whom they are helping to keep out of hospital?
So why not put everyone's safety first - the safety of both the carers and their clients - by ensuring that the official advice is changed and that face masks are worn until further notice, as a matter of course.
After all these are very scary and unprecedented times and if the carers feel safer - their clients are bound to feel the benefit as well.
Glasgow home care service Cordia accused of not providing PPE for care workers
By Catherine Hunter - Evening Times
A GLASGOW care service has disputed claims that staff are not being provided with protective equipment as they carry out home visits to vulnerable people.
Cordia, which is delivered by the City Council under the management of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership has been accused of not providing enough PPE (personal protective equipment) by worried Glaswegians.
Some members of the public say they have spotted staff going into homes without adequate PPE.
One concerned constituent, who doesn’t want to be identified, said: “I have a family member who works as a carer for Cordia.
“She was promised she would have protective equipment supplied as she has to care for elderly patients which also means going into their house.
“She has not been provided with a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and was given only three aprons. She works seven days on and seven days off.
“How are three aprons going to last? She is in her mid-50s and is at an increased risk because of this.
“Cordia and putting the lives of their carer staff at risk as they are not providing the necessary equipment. I am extremely worried for my family member.”
Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has confirmed that they are following all the guidelines issues by Public Health Scotland by providing enough equipment.
No member of staff should be working without the protection that is appropriate for their role.
A spokesman said: "Glasgow HSCP is following guidelines issued by Public Health Scotland in providing staff with the appropriate PPE equipment required to safely carry out their duties in the community.
"There is currently sufficient supply of PPE so that no member of HSCP staff should be working without the protection that is appropriate for their role.