BASW aims to bring together a coalition of support for the Test, Safe Access, Protect rights campaign and also adding our voice to partnership campaigns. Below are updates, milestones and key information related to our campaign:
Key campaign updates:
BASW England response to changes in care home visiting guidelines
March 2021 - BASW England welcomes the revised guidance for testing professionals visiting care homes in England. Whilst the guidance does not make specific reference to social workers, the term “professional visitor” is applicable. Read the full response.
March 2021 - BASW England welcomes changes to the care home visiting guidance which was updated on 5 March 2021. BASW England recognises the value and importance of working in partnership with families, friends, carers and providers and is aligned with organisations that have been and continue to advocate for their safe access to care settings. Read the full response.
BASW England releases video interview with family carer unable to see her son
February 2021 - BASW England interviews a family carer who hasn’t been able to see her son due to blanket restrictions on care homes during the pandemic. You can watch the video here.
Further written questions tabled in the Welsh Senedd
Jan/Feb 2021 - BASW Cymru is working with Angela Burns MS, who tabled the following questions in the Senedd on 1 February 2021, with the Minister for Health and Social Services due to respond by 5 February:
- Will the Minister detail the number of social workers in Wales that have used lateral flow testing?
- Will the Minister outline whether the Welsh Government are encouraging the use of lateral flow testing to: a) safeguard patients and residents in care / regulated settings, b) for general face-to-face community contact, or a combination of the two?
- Will the Minister detail by which date we can expect all social workers in Wales have access to lateral flow testing so that they can return to direct contact with vulnerable children and adults?
- Will the Minister detail what guidance is provided to those administering lateral flow testing?
BASW members and social workers share their experiences
December 2020 - Three platforms cover a BASW adults member and best interest assessor’s powerful blog on the effect blanket restrictions are having on social workers visiting service users in care settings, and the consequent need for BASW England’s Test, Access, Rights campaign:
Human Rights Day, 10 December - In a blog, BASW Member Michelle McDonald highlights the need for social workers to be tested and given safe access to vulnerable adults in their care.
You can also share your own experiences of social workers being denied access to health and care settings during Covid-19.
*Milestone* Welsh government issues written statement on Covid-19 testing confirming social workers will have access to lateral flow tests (LFTs)
In a written statement, Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, said that health and care professionals in Wales - including social workers - will have access to lateral flow tests (LFTs), one of the new technologies developed through the UK mass testing programme to test frontline health and social care workers on a rapid and regular basis.
National Director for Cymru, Allison Hulmes, said: “We are grateful for the excellent campaign to ensure that social workers are able to finally access twice-weekly lateral flow testing in order to enter care, hospital and community settings to protect rights and safeguard the most vulnerable members of society. We hope that the lateral flow testing, along with the use of other personal protective equipment, will reassure service users, carers, family members and care home managers that the highest levels of safety are being followed to facilitate professional face to face visits. We await the publication of guidance on how this will happen in practice.”
Welsh government writes to BASW Cymru regarding Test, Access, Rights campaign
- On 25 November Julie Morgan AS/MS, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, told BASW Cymru that social workers in Wales are integral to ensuring the wellbeing of residents in residential care and should be recognised as professional visitors.
Test, Access, Rights campaign featured in Private Eye magazine
Our campaign to get social workers regularly tested for Covid-19 so they can carry out their duties in health and care settings effectively and promote human rights was featured in in the 19 November edition of Private Eye magazine ('social insecurity').
Updates from the Senedd Cymru (Welsh parliament)
- On 4 Nov BASW Cymru issued a briefing for Members of the Senedd (MS), which raised the issue of social workers needing to be regularly tested in order to ensure that they are able to safeguard and promote the rights of people in care homes. You can read the full briefing here.
- Mark Isherwod MS asked for an urgent statement on Covid-19 restrictions on visits to care homes in Wales. He urged that those visits that can be conducted safely should continue and that many steps could be put in place to stop people dying of loneliness. The Trefnydd (House Leader) recognised the difficult time for those who have loved ones in care homes and said she will speak to the Deputy Minister for Social Services for an update on the situation.
- On 3 November Rhun ap Iorwerth MS tabled a statement in the Senedd, which reads as follows:
'Social Worker Professional Visitors'
a) believes that social workers are integral to ensuring the wellbeing of care home residents and should be treated as professional visitors with physical access to patients to carry out their statutory and non-statutory duties;
b) supports BASW Cymru’s call that all designated social worker professional visitors should be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis;
c) believes that social workers must be given priority access to people in care, health and supported living settings through testing, rigorous infection control, access to PPE;
d) recognises that without access to care and health settings, social workers are struggling to carry out mental capacity assessment
BASW pledges support to NCF campaign
- BASW has added its voice to The National Care Forum (NCF) campaign National lockdown must not include locking out care home visitors calling on the government to ensure that care homes are supported to enable visits by families and loved ones, now and in the future. The open letter calls on the government to adopt this position in any new regulations it is drafting for the care sector to cover the national lockdown and the aftermath. This campaign has also been supported by ADASS.