Somerset

Coronavirus: Work 'very unsafe' says Bridgwater care home cleaner

Claire Groves
Image caption Claire Groves said she was concerned that she may have contracted the virus

Cleaning a care home feels "very unsafe" because there is a shortage of equipment to protect against the coronavirus, a staff member says.

Claire Groves is "expected to go into rooms with residents who are coughing and showing symptoms", at the Rosary Nursing Home in Bridgwater, Somerset.

"My main concern is that staff are putting themselves at risk just by coming into work," she said.

The care home strongly denied there was a lack of equipment.

Ms Groves has been cleaning at the nursing home, run by Sanctuary Care, for seven months.

She said she wore gloves and found a mask "lying on a desk in the nurses' station", but had no apron and nothing to protect her eyes.

"As a cleaner I wasn't even given an apron because there just weren't enough. We needed to prioritise them for care staff. We could be passing the virus on to other residents," she said.

"I felt very unsafe. I felt quite tense throughout my shift. I wasn't comfortable going into rooms with residents."

Image caption The Rosary Nursing Home in Bridgwater strongly denies there is a lack of protection equipment

A care home spokesperson said there had been two deaths relating to coronavirus, but strongly denied there was a lack of PPE for its workers.

Meanwhile, a leaked Public Health England document has revealed protective gowns and masks could be reused by health workers under "last resort" coronavirus plans to tackle shortages.

Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England, said: "PPE is a precious resource and it is crucial that everyone in health and social care has access to the right protective equipment.

"All options are being considered to ensure this, including the safe reuse of items, but no decisions have been made."

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