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Priority testing for social workers

Testing is vital for the provision of services and to reduce risk of infection for vulnerable groups

Social workers, along with colleagues in health, social care, and other vital key workers should be included with priority groups who can expect coronavirus testing. 

Recent reports show an expected increased demand for testing, which could put pressure on capacity.

Social workers are on the front line and undertake a range of statutory duties, including protecting vulnerable children and adults, supporting disabled adults and frail older people and working with individuals who face severe mental health challenges as well as other important work.

Without priority testing for social workers there is greater risk that teams will be depleted and vulnerable groups will not have the assurance that their social workers can visit them in their home without the risk of infection.

BASW first called for priority testing at the start of the pandemic along with other key asks in an open letter to the Prime Minister.  

The government list of essential workers and those prioritised for testing (England only) produced earlier this year does include social workers.

With the start of a new school term and expected rise in referrals to children’s services, pressures for on-going services are also set to increase further. 

It is essential that social workers can expect access to priority testing, to ensure the continued provision of vital services.  Social workers need the best possible support during Covid 19 so that they can safely support others.