UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON notes the announcement by the Minister for Health that 20 of our care homes now have cases of Covid-19. Responding to this announcement, UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘Our care homes have up to 16,000 residents all at risk. The homes have the potential to become petri dishes for the virus unless immediate testing, isolation and tracking commences.  

We must protect our vulnerable older population and we must protect the workers who have the least PPE and some of the most direct exposure. We need reassurance as to how the risk of transmission within homes is being reduced in order to protect both residents and the workforce.  

All care home providers, health trusts and the Department of Health need to ensure that there is a stable workforce across all nursing homes to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

We are calling on the NI Executive to make immediate additional resources available to the entire sector in the form of a dedicated testing programme, and revised guidance for health care workers in the homes and in community care with additional PPE as standard. There is no such thing as 'normal' protective equipment in these circumstances.

We will not accept any delays in providing the right PPE to workers in our care homes. Employers, our health trusts and the Department of Health must ensure all care homes are properly supplied. Social care in the community and in nursing home settings cannot be the poor relation when it comes to protecting service-users and workers.’’