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Test, Safe Access, Promote Rights - update from SASW

Guidance in Scotland is that social workers can visit people in care homes when necessary, and should be able to get tests alongside health and social care colleagues

SASW fully supports the Test, Safe Access, Protect Rights campaign, and its aim to change guidance in England and Wales.

Scottish Government guidance since moving from lockdown to Phase one in May, has enabled care homes and workers to take a risk-assessed approach to working with at risk and vulnerable people (See the Phase One guidance).  Recent guidance (12 October Care Homes Guidance attached with highlights for social workers) includes social workers in the group of workers who should be able to work with people living in care homes beyond what is "essential".  In addition, social workers in Scotland are "Priority Group 1A” key workers so have top priority access to testing, alongside NHS/social care staff, specifically when dealing with vulnerable/looked after people.

Of course, video meetings are the preferred safe method of communication with people where that is possible.  The Scottish Government is committing £500,000 to ensure all care homes to have access to digital devices, connectivity and support to keep their residents safe, aiming to ensure that moving services online reduces inequalities and does not exclude the least advantaged in society from the services they may need the most. The Near Me programme is being rolled out further to support this.

These sets of guidance mean that social workers in Scotland should be able to get testing to ensure they are able to visit people in person, where that is necessary, wherever they live in order to ensure people are getting the support they need and undertake complex work with vulnerable people. 

If you are a social worker having difficulty seeing people in care homes or getting a Covid-19 test when you should, please let the SASW team know (scotland@basw.co.uk).  We are currently designing a special Covid-19 bulletin to bring the most up to date news and guidance to our members and we will include a quick survey for members there.  Please complete it - we need to hear from you so that we can target our work where you need us to.