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Welsh Government writes to BASW Cymru regarding Test, Access, Rights campaign

Julie Morgan AS/MS, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, confirms social workers in Wales are integral to ensuring the wellbeing of residents in residential care and should be recognised as professional visitors

BASW Cymru has received an official response from Julie Morgan AS/MS, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services for the Welsh Government, on the issue of professional visitor status for social workers during the pandemic.

The response said that social workers in Wales are “integral to ensuring the wellbeing of residents in care” and, crucially, that “the essential nature of the work undertaken by social workers which includes mental capacity assessments, safeguarding and ensuring the wellbeing of people means that we would expect them to be considered as professional visitors and enabled to visit individuals in order to fulfil their duties.”

BASW Cymru has also worked with Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Health and Social Services Lead for Plaid Cymru, to table a question to the Welsh Government on 11 November related to the Test, Rights, Access campaign.

The full response from Julie Morgan AS/MS is below. BASW Cymru will continue to work with key stakeholders to campaign for professional visitor status for social workers across Wales.

 

Julie Morgan AS/MS

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services

23 November 2020

Dear Allison,

Thank you for your email of 4 November regarding BASW’s Test, Safe Access and Promote Rights campaign.

We do consider that social workers are integral to ensuring the wellbeing of residents in residential care and we recognise them as professional visitors that should be given appropriate physical access to care homes and other settings in order to fulfil their statutory and non-statutory duties.

We have not included a definitive list of named professionals in our guidance for visits to care homes and other settings. However in line with the published guidance, the essential nature of the work undertaken by social workers which includes mental capacity assessments, safeguarding and ensuring the wellbeing of people means that we would expect them to be considered as professional visitors and enabled to visit individuals in order to fulfil their duties.

We are currently exploring the opportunities lateral flow testing devices offer us in relation to testing for care home visitors, including visiting professionals, such as social workers. We are clear however that while testing can help to mitigate risk it will not eradicate it and as such it is vital that testing is seen as part of a broader infection control package to include use of PPE, social distancing and other infection control measures.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Morgan AS/MS

Y Dirprwy Weinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services