UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON notes with serious concern guidance published by Public Health England (17th April) on PPE shortages and the reuse of PPE. Commenting on this development, UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation Anne Speed said:

‘‘This is an extremely alarming guidance that has been developed by Public Health England. UNISON wrote to the Department of Health on April 18th on behalf of all health unions indicating that we will not accept Northern Ireland adhering to this revised guidance. We have been advised by the Department that the guidance is not being implemented in Northern Ireland at this point, though we remain concerned that the Department has not definitively ruled out issuing such guidance in future.

The priority must be delivering the PPE that is required for all workers, not only in hospitals, but also in nursing homes and in the community.

Last week it emerged that 250,000 gowns have been transferred from Northern Ireland to England, on the basis that they will be resupplied once England’s stocks arrive. Given this new guidance from Public Health England, we are seriously questioning when this will happen. We are demanding transparency over the status of our PPE stockpile.

The Minister for Health must publicly reassure all health and social care workers that this guidance will not adopted for Northern Ireland in the future. There must be full engagement on any proposed future guidance. UNISON will not accept decisions that affect our members being made over our heads.’’