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Public Health England responds to BASW England and ongoing concerns for social work and wider health and care workforce during Covid-19

Professor Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director and Director of Health Protection, Public Health England responds

Updated 11 May 2020

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director and Director for Health Protection responds to BASW England letter that highlighted the ongoing concerns being raised by social workers, including shortage of PPE and asks for a clearer understanding of people's vulnerability to Covid-19 including why BAME health and care workers are disproportionately affected.  Read the Director and Director for Health Protection response here.

  • BASW England will continue to call for answers and monitor the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on social worker and the communities we work within.

Also read BASW England open letter to Professor Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director and Director of Health Protection, Public Health England which was issued 4 May 2020, also summarised below:

BASW England continues to be contacted by social care practitioners and social workers about a number of concerns including; the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), the lack of Public Health England and government guidance for autistic adults, adults with learning disabilities and vulnerable individuals (including who is classed as vulnerable) and guidance relating to new born babies, children, families and carers with particular reference to:

  • Shortage of PPE
  • Lack of easy read materials from Public Health England
  • Lack of strong, clear infection control practices for the care/support workforce supporting people in their own homes from Public Health England
  • Testing for COVID-19 in the community including availability and distances required to travel for testing
  • Hospital admission, discharge and internal transfer guidance and methods of communication with vulnerable young people, parents and adults
  • Ascertaining informed consent for testing and having an advocate, friend, or family member present when a vulnerable person is advised that they are COVID -19 positive
  • Lack of strategy to deploy NHS volunteers and how they fit with social care.

We are also extremely concerned about reports that a higher percentage of health and social care staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have both contracted and died from COVID-19.

We welcome the PHE-review to analyse people’s vulnerability to coronavirus led by Prof Kevin Fenton, PHE public health director for London.

We need to see clear reporting on the numbers of BAME health and care workers who are infected and those who have sadly died during the pandemic and with this a better understanding of why BAME health and care workers are disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Individuals and employers need urgent guidance so they can ensure they protect themselves, their colleagues and the people they provide care and support for.

View the letter here.

Further information