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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

From the front line of social care

In many ways life working in health and social carehas not changed that much, despite the Corona Virus clampdown. Get up at the same time, travel to the same places, work long shifts, grab meals when you can, and wonder if the company is going to provide you with the tools you need to do your job safely. The only real differences since clampdown is that public transports empty, the same as Boris Johnson’s head I imagine.

The fact that suddenly people are shouting about the NHS means nothing really. Working for a private company that sucks its profit from the public piggy bank, removes you one step from that sacred public service idolatry. The UK government answer to this problem is to see it as a promising branding opportunity, offering to sell a cheap badge for £8.99. Which is more than some of us get paid an hour, myself included.

In Scotland we already have a brand, and a professional body the Scottish Social Services Council, that we the workers prop up with our compulsory contributions. So we dont need another distraction. The SSSC has offered noting since the beginning of this present period, other than a stock of volunteer workers that the companies won’t use other than as temporary labour to prop up their already understaffed services. 

The model of private healthcare imported from the U.S.A. where the amount of staff is sufficient to the requirements to keep a premises running and still provide maximum returns for the shareholders is sadly the dominant one. This means staff work long hours and the people they support reviving the bare minimum support that their packages can cover most of the time. But the way that the State plays with the money for health and social care is a story for another time.

The big story at the time of writing is the lack of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, that is effecting the NHS ability to do their job safely. Lucky them. PPE is an issue for us too. The company has said we wont get any till the virus actually infects a service. So we don’t get face masks not nothing. The only face mask I have seen in the service was repurposed underwear which someone had brought in with them. 

Gloves are a constant issue as well, the company seems to think we all have size small hands use one glove multiple times so they don’t need to supply them regularly. COVID-19 or not try dealing with that when you have to apply medicated creams or support someone with personal hygiene.

Mainly the only difference between normal service and clampdown service is that the people we support are having to adjust to a world without pubs, clubs, shops, day trips, and football. A world where they can’t go out to see their friends or family and they miss them, and have to deal with issues of separation and loneliness. It’s a locked down world much like ours.

A care worker in Clydeside.


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