Campaign to stop the spread

#FullPayForCarers to
#StopThe Spread

Agency and bank staff usage is associated with higher rates of Covid-19 infections in care homes among both residents and staff, a study has found. The Office for National Statistics report also found some evidence that homes offering sick pay had lower rates of infection among residents, and having staff work in multiple homes was associated with significantly higher rates of infection among workers, though not residents.

The ONS study, which covered 9,081 homes in England for older people and those with dementia, was published as the government announced that staff in all such homes would start receiving weekly coronavirus tests, and residents monthly tests.  The research, which covered the period since the start of the pandemic, was based on results of a telephone-based survey answered by managers from 5,126 of the homes in late May and June, with the results scaled up to cover all 9,081 homes.

Across the homes, which had an estimated 293,301 residents and 441,498 staff, the ONS found that 55-56% had had at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 among staff or residents. Among these homes, an estimated 20% of residents and 7% of staff tested positive for the disease.  Ninety three per cent of the homes offered staff sick pay, while 11.5% had staff working in more than one home and 44% used no bank or agency staff.

Residents were 1.58 times more likely, and staff 1.88 times more likely, to be infected in homes that used agency or bank staff most or all days, compared with those who did not use them at all.

Mithran Samuel on July 3, 2020

Social Care Leaders condemn Boris Johnson for ‘blaming’ care homes for Covid-19 spread (July 2020)

Government guidance and policy on care homes, particularly in the first weeks of the pandemic, has been roundly criticised. Public Health England guidance in force until 13 March  (two days after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic) said it was “very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected”.

On 19 March, guidance for the NHS set out a plan to discharge 15,000 people by 27 March, including to care homes, with no requirement to test on discharge those who did not have flu-like or respiratory symptoms. Guidance from 2 April for care homes said they needed to make their full capacity available and could admit
patients with Covid-19.

Mark Adams, chief executive of Community Integrated Care, said Boris Johnson’s comments were at best “clumsy and cowardly”, but then added: “If this genuinely was his view, we are almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality, where the government set the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results they then deny setting the rules and blame the people who were trying to do their best”.

Adams added that, at a time when 1.6m social care workers “on minimum wage, often with no sickness cover, going into work to protect our parents, grandparents, our children, putting their health and potentially their lives at risk, getting perhaps the most senior man in the country turning around and blaming them on what is a travesty of leadership is appalling”.

Adams said it was a case of “history being rewritten in front of us” in a context of “mistake after mistake” from government in its treatment of the sector.

He said the social care system had had to source “90% of the PPE” it needed, testing of staff and residents was delayed and that up to now this had generally been one-off tests, which was “absolutely useless because if you get tested and get on the bus back home and pick up the virus, within a week you’re potentially
asymptomatic and infectious”.

Mithran Samuel July 2020


We would like you to let us know what’s happening in your workplace regarding Covid-19.  We also want to know if you receive sick pay from your employer before and/or during this

Depending on your responses, we may write to your employer or the Council who award contracts to care home suppliers, asking for positive change for UNISON members in particular with regard to sick pay.  This survey does not require you to give us your name unless you want to get in touch with us on a personal level.

Please take the time to update us and take part in the survey. If you want us to get in touch with you, please add your details including phone number and/or email. In the meantime Stay Safe.  Mike Swift