E tū members in aged care are appalled to learn that the Ministry of Health are charging on with a review into COVID-19 affected aged care facilities without participation from workers, their unions, or people who live in the residential aged care facilities and their families.
The review, quietly
announced in a media release on Thursday, will be conducted by public
health officials and employer representatives, but no worker, union, or client
representatives are on the panel.
an aged care worker in Southland, says that workers have already proven to be
the important voices in this discussion.
early stages of the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, PPE was being rationed in my
facility very strictly, purely due to low supply. It was a shock to my
colleagues and me as many of us felt we were at such high risk – and putting
our families at risk as well,” Aroha says.
until our union fought for our right to have free an unpoliced access to PPE
that we started getting the changes that we need. It shows how important union
members are in decision making.
Aroha and her
colleagues think that many of the current practices around isolation continue
to be sub-standard.
residents arrive, while they may be isolated, the staff that care for them are
still going between different residents and so that contact continues. We’ve
also encountered problems with new and returning residents wandering around
haven’t been effectively isolated at all, ultimately putting all other
residents and staff at a much higher, unnecessary risk.
needs workers like us properly involved so we can explain these experiences and
work with others on the solutions. We’re the experts.”
E tū Director
Sam Jones says that E tū has been calling for a proper review since the
beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
have been blowing the whistle on issues like PPE, staffing levels, and
isolation practices throughout the pandemic. We’ve been calling for a proper
review the whole time. With such limited scope and representation, this review
is far from adequate,” Sam says.
workers, unions, and residents out of such an important review feels like a
slap in the face.”
Sam says that
the review will barely scratch the surface.
basically just another form of self-regulation which has proven to not work
across industries which will only produce what the providers and DHB’s allow it
to. Having an independent resident and worker voice is the only thing that will
lead to proper preventative measures to stop further clusters developing in
residential aged care ensuring all workers and residents are protected. This is
not the time for complacency.”
Sam says that E
tū is asking the Ministry for an urgent “please explain” and to make
sure there is adequate participation in the review.
“It’s not too
late for them to fix this, both to improve the current review and to make sure
workers voices are properly heard in any reviews and audits going forward.”
Sam says the
issue highlights the importance of E tū’s recently launched Rebuild Better campaign, which
outlines a way forward for keeping workers at the heart of the recovery.
“Two of the
five key principles in our Rebuild Better campaign are prioritising community
health and wellbeing, and workers involved in all decisions. Full worker,
union, and client participation in a much wider review is the necessary
information and comment:
Sam Jones, 027 544 8563
Kirsty McCully, 027 204 6354