Evidence Led Routine Testing of Health and Social Care Staff is Essential

Ruth Maguire MSP has called for evidence led routine Covid testing for Scotland’s health and social care workers.

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South gave her backing for staff working in the healthcare sector to be given access to routine testing while speaking in the Scottish Parliament in a debate on the subject.

It was noted that routine testing is currently available for healthcare workers where current evidence deems it appropriate, however Ms Maguire drew attention to services where staff do not have access to testing.

She said: “There are social care staff who currently cannot access routine testing. They include; staff providing care at home, providing palliative care, supporting people with no homes or dealing with addiction issues, and staff providing respite services, although not all these services are on at the moment.”

Ms Maguire also highlighted concerns of workers who refuse to be tested citing worries of losing income from being made to self isolate and urged employers to remember their duty of care to staff during this public health crisis.

She said: “I welcome that the Scottish Government has established the Social Care Staff Support Fund to ensure that care workers who test positive will receive sick pay above the current statutory level which should help in some way to ease the financial burden having to isolate places on them.

“It’s absolutely crucial that employers also act responsibly and fulfil their duties with regards to health and safety of their staff and that workers are actively encouraged to follow guidance and not pressured into coming into work.”

Providing further comment, Ms Maguire said: “I’d like to offer my continued and sincere thanks to all of our health and social care workers for all that they have done so far in working on the front line against the pandemic.

“While testing is not the single key measure that can be taken to curb the spread of coronavirus, it is a crucial aspect of our efforts to contain the virus and I wholeheartedly support routine testing for all of our NHS and care staff.

“They, like all essential workers, deserve to be given assurance that their health and safety is of utmost importance and employers must continue to comply with the current guidelines to ensure that this is the case.”

Ruth’s contribution to the Scottish Parliament debate on routine testing for health and care workers can be viewed below:

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