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SWU responds to ONS figures on social worker Covid-19 deaths

The recent ONS figures highlight how much risk social workers are facing during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an unprecedented time of loss for individuals, families and communities across the UK. We offer our deepest condolences to all who have been affected by this sad news and any loss.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its data on COVID-19 related deaths by occupation for England and Wales from 9 March to 28 December 2020 and it highlights just how much risk social workers face.

The data shows that the deaths of 11 men and 25 women practitioners between the ages of 20 to 64 in England and Wales were registered as involving COVID-19.

The findings from this 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by occupation' report shows the immense challenges faced by social workers in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union. 

The work that SWU and BASW are doing is now more important than ever as we turn towards the path to recovery and plan for future challenges.  As we see from recent deaths, Social Workers are continuing to experience personal challenges and witness those most vulnerable in society going without the care and support they need. Reports have shown that this has led to harm and preventable deaths among children, residential homes and across adult social care work. 

“According to NHS Digital figures reported by Press Association, almost half a million safeguarding concerns about abuse were raised during 2019-20 – a rise of almost 15% from the previous year.”

Doug Nicholls, General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions, said:The tragic accounts of social workers who have succumbed to Covid as a direct result of their highly professional front line, essential work are as heart breaking as those of the people they are trying to assist.

“We know Covid is rife in the poorest areas and we know that social workers are mainly working in these areas giving every bit as much care and attention to clients as nurses and doctors are in the hospitals.

“The General Federation of Trade Unions stands alongside the Social Workers Union in bringing greater support and protection to social workers whose endeavours require greater recognition.”