'No evidence of fault' in agency's use of PPE after Wakefield woman's complaint

A woman who raised concerns about the levels of PPE her carers were wearing has had her complaint rejected by an independent body.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 9:27 am

The complainant, from Wakefield, first claimed the homecare agency she used did not equip their staff with sufficient coveralls as they visited her in November 2020.

She suggested the aprons and masks they wore were "thin and easily ripped" and carers' arms were uncovered, according to a report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, who assessed the case.

The agency insisted however that they followed all government guidance over the issue, and the Ombudsman has now said it found "no evidence of fault in the PPE being used."

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Protocols on PPE were issued to health and social care workers in April 2020.

The report said the client, who they referred to as 'Mrs D', lives at home with her husband and has health conditions which "put her at risk of severe illness if she contracts Covid-19."

The report detailed how Mrs D claimed the workers themselves were concerned about visiting people with Covid-19 "because they did not have proper PPE."

The Ombudsman added: "Mrs D considered this was risky and unfair to the carers and other service users."

According to the report, the agency responded by saying the equipment was being used in line with the official advice, staff were changing between calls and that rounds had been changed to stop carers going between service users with Covid and service users without the virus.

In its conclusions, the Ombudsman said it understood Mrs D's concerns about the risk of infection.

But the report added: "The (government) guidance does not specify the brand or quality of PPE to be worn.

"Indeed, it says they should be single use, which makes it more likely they would be made of thin material.

"Nor were homecare workers required to wear gowns or coveralls to cover their arms and backs."

The report also said Mrs D claimed the agency had threatened to withdraw their services to her as a result of her complaint.

However, the Ombudsman said it could make "no finding" on that matter as it had, "Seen no records of that phone call and cannot say what happened".

Local Democracy Reporting Service