The chief executive of one of the largest voluntary social care providers in Scotland has said care home staff must be provided with protective equipment “immediately”.
Viv Dickenson from CrossReach has said the current coronavirus guidance is “unfair and unjust” because it expects workers to go without.
The advice states that residents in long-term care should not be admitted to hospital for “ongoing management”, but looked after in their current setting.
This means care staff and volunteers could be left dealing with those who are acutely ill or dying with symptoms of coronavirus.
Mrs Dickenson has called on the Scottish Government to step in and ensure the necessary supplies are available for all who require them.
“Our exceptional and dedicated staff are being asked to do what they can,” she said.
“But would you want to care for someone with the virus without protection for you, your family and other residents?
“While NHS supplies have been prioritised, we have seen arrangements for the care sector lag behind and the supply chain dry up.
“We understand arrangements are being made but have not yet seen the detail and the clock is ticking.
“Personal protective equipment in the care sector is non-negotiable and we hope that the Scottish Government will acknowledge this immediately and act quickly to stop the spread of the virus and protect staff and residents.”
CrossReach is the social care arm of the Church of Scotland and runs 35 residential homes across the country, including 17 care homes for older people.
The 150-year-old organisation is asking members of the public to support it during the pandemic, either through volunteering or by donating protective equipment, cleaning products and food.
Mrs Dickenson added: “We know that there are risks to using public transport at this time which can spread the virus.
“We are appealing to people to provide transport to get our staff and volunteers safely back and forward to their place of work and be of less risk to others.
“Those living in residential setting still need to be fed and cared for but as staff self-isolate or become sick this will be a real challenge.
“If you have skills and experience from catering to caring which you might be able to offer us, please be in touch.”