Posted: Sat 23rd May 2020

Welsh care workers looking after people with COVID-19 to get PTSD support

North Wales news and information

Welsh care workers dealing with the devastation caused by caring for people with Covid-19 are to get post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) support from their union.

Unison Cymru said is rolling out courses to members in the care sector, using cash from Welsh Government’s Wales Union Learning Fund, because it wants to match what is on offer for NHS staff.

The union said an initial lack of personal protective equipment, particularly for those working for private and non-profit care providers, caused “terrible anxiety” to staff.

It also claimed care workers were worried not enough was being done to provide regular testing for staff and clients.

Mary Wimbury, chief executive of Care Forum Wales, welcomed the move.

She said: “Any additional support for social care workers at this uniquely difficult and stressful time is to be welcomed.

“Many of the larger social care providers in Wales already have support in place for their front line staff but smaller-scale operations do not have the capacity to do so in the same way.

“We are in discussions with Social Care Wales and some local authorities about how best to provide a support network similar to what’s available to NHS and local authority staff and we hope this will be rolled out across Wales soon.”

Unison Cymru regional secretary Tanya Palmer said: “The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the fantastic and essential work undertaken by the thousands of carers in Wales for what often, is very little pay.

“There is no doubt many will suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If they worked for the National Health Service, mental health support would be provided as a matter of course by their employer.

“This isn’t the case for many care workers.

“Unison believes care workers should be held in equal esteem as their National Health Service colleagues.”

The union says it has developed an “Ethical Care Charter” which it wants all councils in Wales to adopt.

The charter calls for, among other things, fair employment and training and a minimum rate of pay of £9.30 per hour so carers can avoid “in-work poverty”.

By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter

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