Five care home workers who raised concerns about PPE shortages and understaffing have lost their jobs in the last two weeks, according to a charity set up to protect whistleblowers.
Compassion in Care founder Eileen Chubb said the five carers are considering legal action having been dismissed from their employment for breaching confidentiality after raising safety concerns.
Chubb said all five had contacted regulators and authorities and were thinking about challenging their cases with legal action through employment tribunals. Three carers were sacked and the other two have cases for constructive dismissal, said the charity.
‘Concerns about PPE and staffing go back weeks’
“Going back four weeks we had people who were raising concerns about PPE, about staffing levels, about the kind of care and also about Covid-19 patients being placed in the home after hospital,” Chubb told the Guardian.
“All of those issues were raised and now you’ve got a situation where no action was taken weeks later and staff are beginning to think nobody is listening. And they’re right.”
Chubb, a former care worker and whistleblower, told the Times that care workers had been contacting her charity to ask for advice on how to raise concerns. She said: “We’re now seeing this trickle of people who actually went further and the consequences of that. In fact, I think we are only beginning to see the consequences — I think there are a lot more to come.”
‘Scandalising that these people are not protected in law’
She added: “It’s scandalising that these people are not protected in law and the fact that this can happen at a time like this says everything. I should not be getting calls like this, full stop, but definitely not while this is going on.”
Conditions and deaths in care homes has become a major issue during the coronavirus crisis, along with the PPE shortage.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first time the government released figures for coronavirus deaths in hospitals and the community – including care homes – which added 3,811 deaths to the official toll. The latest figures released by Public Health England show 26,771 people have died with Covid-19.
‘Care homes are the most affected in terms of deaths’
The chief executive of MHA, Britain’s largest charitable operator of care homes, Sam Monaghan said the new figures were starting to show “what we have known for some weeks now, that care homes are sadly the most affected area of society in terms of deaths from Covid-19”.
The Guardian states that figures they have gathered from the largest care home operators “have shown rises in the number of fatalities from Covid-19 in residential and nursing homes of between 50% and 79% in the last one to two weeks.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “The spread of the virus though care homes is absolutely a top priority.”