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Carers – the forgotten front line?

January 28, 2021 10:59 AM
By Peter Dobbs

Care home residents Covid 19 (getsurrey)It was weeks into the first lockdown before the vulnerability of those whose job was to care for the elderly in care homes became a concern to government with the acknowledgement that they needed proper PPE and not something improvised from bin liners and old sheets.

The same carers seemed to be forgotten in the roll out of testing as well and now a 'hidden army' of carers whose work is not in a care facility but in the actual home of the person they are caring for are experiencing problems in getting vaccinated.

Clearly these carers are people who should have priority in receiving vaccination for Covid 19 in order to protect the vulnerable people they care for. However unless you work for an agency or a specific employer in seems that you are invisible to those compiling the lists of people to be vaccinated.

Cllr Sue Burfoot (County Cllr for Matlock) comments, " I received a request from a local carer who was concerned that she had no guidance as to whether she was to vaccinated as a priority or not and yet she still had to visit the homes of the vulnerable patients. She had phoned her GP, the GPs of those she cared for, the Covid Help line and NHS Direct all with nothing to indicate how she should tackle the problem - apart from the message to 'wait and see'."

Sue Burfoot (Peter Dobbs)

Cllr Sue Burfoot

"I was able to speak to the Service Director at Derbyshire County Council who confirmed that she would be classed as a front line worker and was eligible for vaccination as a priority. However she would still need to ask the person who employs her as a carer to contact the County Council to confirm her role. In her case she is employed directly by one of the many elderly people who decide to seek help in this way. Rather a lot to ask of someone who is already frail and in need of personal care!"

Cllr Burfoot adds, "The current Covid crisis does underline how fragmented our current Adult Care provision is, with clearly some key people who care for others being apparently 'invisible' to the system".