UNISON representative at the Isle of Wight Council, Mark Chiverton, says pressure is being put on the local authority to ensure clothing, designed to protect care workers from coronavirus, is in place as soon as possible.

His comments follow concerns raised by care workers, who told the Isle of Wight County Press that shared pool cars were not being properly cleaned, drop-in visits to help out at Isle of Wight Council-run care facilities should be stopped, and a message to ‘carry hand soap’ between clients' homes did not go far enough to protect staff and the vulnerable Islanders they look after.

Fears were also raised that protective masks had not been adequately supplied.

Read more: Isle of Wight Council carers' concerns about coronavirus health and safety

In a statement to the County Press yesterday (Monday), the Isle of Wight Council said: "Community support workers have the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplied to them and are instructed to wear it at our office, as well as at resource centres – in exactly the same way as they do when going into different people’s homes.

“We are also supplying additional PPE to the vehicles, to ensure that the community support workers are protected – and protect others."

Mark Chiverton said it was important that even more was done to support key workers in their work with high-risk, mainly elderly, people. 

He said: “We are getting a number of expressions of concern from people in the adult social care sector. People feel it’s important to be provided with proper equipment - particularly face masks. 

"Many of them are out and about around the Island - to homes, to care, to deliver equipment. It’s important that the Isle of Wight Council does redouble its efforts to make sure there is the correct kit. 

"UNISON is pressing managers to ensure that staff who need PPE safety clothing and equipment get it as rapidly as possible. I know they’re making efforts to get hold of the masks."