Amid shocking new data...
Care home staff treated as ‘second class carers’, says Kilgour
Robert Kilgour: care home staff are treated as ‘second class carers’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Robert Kilgour, who owns the 15-strong Renaissance Care chain, has claimed that care home staff are being treated as ‘cannon fodder’ and ‘second class carers’ by many branches of government.
Mr Kilgour, who last week warned that the sector faces collapse unless it has more resources to tackle Covid-19, hit out as it emerged that about half of Scotland’s privately-run care homes could already have been hit with the coronavirus.
In a survey of how businesses are coping with the virus and lockdown published by Daily Business, Mr Kilgour said: “We’re busier than we’ve ever been, but about 15% of our staff are off for various reasons, including those who are self-isolating.
“The result is we have some staff who are volunteering for double shifts, with some even living and working in situ.
“It’s truly humbling and inspiring to hear what incredible things our staff are doing to look after our 700 residents and support their colleagues daily in very trying circumstances.
Unless this changes urgently there will be a huge loss of morale which will harm recruitment– Robert Kilgour
“There is a growing feeling in the social care sector that it is under-appreciated by all governments – local, regional and national – and even that care home staff are being treated as ‘cannon fodder’ and ‘second class carers’ by many branches of government during this crisis with issues like the lack of PPE.
“Unless this changes urgently there will be a huge loss of morale which will harm recruitment to and retention in the sector.”
Trade body Scottish Care said homes were under huge strain as staff absences and a lack of protective equipment exacerbate the problem.
The outbreak has killed several residents at care homes in Dumbarton, North Lanarkshire and Tranent in recent weeks.
Information gathered by Scottish Care from its members suggests that about half of care homes in Scotland have at least one suspected case of coronavirus.
Scottish Care’s chief executive Dr Donald Macaskill said the virus had left the sector facing an “unprecedented challenge on every front”.
Dr Macaskill said: “80% of people in care homes are there for later stage of life care. It is a place where there are, sadly, frequents deaths and we have seen that older people generally are more vulnerable to the virus.”
New figures show that a further 47 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, bringing the total to 542.
The Scottish government said 5,590 people had now tested positive for the virus, an increase of 315 from Friday.