Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called for clarification about new guidelines sent to some care homes stating that all staff will be required to wear surgical masks at all times, and sought assurances about the increased supply of PPE that will have to be provided for care homes to meet these requests.
New guidance for the management of possible Covid-19 cases, sent to care homes in Forth Valley, called for "all staff to wear surgical masks at all times to protect patients from staff who may have the virus but not be aware of it."
Willie Rennie commented:
"The guidance issued by public health officials in Forth Valley appears different from the guidance just drawn up and agreed across the UK. We need to sort out the confusion as soon as possible because all care workers need to have the confidence in the guidance.
"Every resident of a care home deserves the most stringent safety regulations to be applied to their home, and every staff member must be fully protected. And if tighter new guidance is being brought in that must be accompanied by fresh supplies of PPE too.
"The government must confirm whether this practice is to now be applied uniformly and where the additional masks will come from, because at present many homes are just days off running out."
Adrian Hendry, Director of Avondale Care Scotland, added:
“Unfortunately Providers who largely have facilities in more than one Local Authority are receiving mixed messages and this is causing a great deal of anxiety across the country.
“Individual HSCP’s must adhere to Government guidelines to ensure we are all following the same advice. Increased use of PPE will result in a huge spike in demand and obviously we are concerned that the supply is not currently sufficient.
“Operators are almost entirely reliant on Government Stock as our usual suppliers have had their stock commandeered and those suppliers who profess to have stock are charging inflated prices on items that may or may not exist with long and estimated lead times.
“I appreciate that this is unprecedented and a significant challenge but hopefully with the recent increased focus on Care Homes our message will be heard, appreciated and acted upon.”