A Labour MP who returned to work as a carer for the elderly to assist in the coronavirus pandemic says she’s been axed for speaking out about the shortage of PPE.
Nadia Whittome had been working at Lark Hill retirement village for about a month, but Extra Care Charitable Trust, which manages the site in Nottingham told her she had to go because of her comments.
Nadia Whittome, 23, who has never condemned the company for the shortage of PPE, said she was horrified and the Nottingham East MP added it was her duty, to be frank about the absence of PPE and testing, which is putting lives in danger.
And that there are so many in social care, who work for a poverty wage, speaking out isn’t an option, and that this is wrong and risky for residents, and in an email seen by the Mirror, Nadia Wittome was told she would no longer be required to do shifts at the care home because she had spoken to the media about her concerns over PPE curtailments and the safety of staff and residents in the retirement village in Nottinghamshire.
Nadia Whittome is now donating the wages she received as a carer to charity and is now inviting all care workers across the nation who’ve encountered intimidation, silencing or disciplinary action to speak up during the COVID 19 crisis to correspond with her with their experiences.
The MP openly talked about returning to care and highlighted some of the anxieties around staff safety but has never criticised the care provider.
Her concerns include staff having only one protective mask per day per worker, relying on homemade visors given by a member of the public and securing the storecupboard of PPE locked due to insufficient supply, and a fear that it was extremely valuable and could be sold for a lot of cash if staff had access.
She stated that staff were told by the onsite wellbeing nurse that masks don’t make a difference and that they could purchase masks from Screwfix if that would make them feel more comfortable.
Nadia Wittome said that she was horrified that ExtraCare has decided this course of action, without following any due process and without her ever having portrayed them negatively in the media.
She said that she will continue to deliver the truth about her frontline experiences and that she rebuked care companies who attempt to suppress staff for speaking out and raising concerns.
Nadia Whittome, who became the youngest MP in the House of Commons when she was selected in December, said it had been an honour to return to work in social care beside her former co-workers and many of the residents she used to care for.
A co-worker of Nadia Whittome said that Nadia didn’t come back as an MP, she came back as the same person she was when she left to become an MP, which was a caring, compassionate, grounded woman who never forgot where she came from, who cares for residents like a member of her family.
And that they were puzzled as to why an exceptional caring worker has been fired and that they’d been following Nadia’s interviews and that she hadn’t said anything other than the facts.
Nadia Whittome spoke of her concerns over how whistleblowers are being treated by the sector, and that she could survive being dramatically dismissed for speaking out because she has another revenue to live on, but for so many people in social care, who work a skilled, exhausting and now dangerous job for poverty pay, speaking out was not a choice.
This is wrong and dangerous for care home residents and patients, and care workers are at the frontline of defeating this virus and they warrant our complete admiration and support.
The GMB Regional Secretary for the Midlands and East Coast Martin Allen said that the GMB is the unions for all care workers and has been clear in demanding decent PPE provision in care since day one of the crisis, no ifs no buts.
And that Nadia has been doing excellent work holding the government to account on PPE and highlighting the issue of PPE in care homes as a matter of national concern. But the ExtraCare Charitable Trust has described news of a deficit of PPE at Lark Hill as incorrect.
A spokeswoman for the Trust said that Lark Hill is the largest retirement villages in the United Kingdom and home to 419 older people with an average age of 82 years old and that their charities staff are working day and night to guarantee the safety and well-being of its residents who are particularly vulnerable during the COVID 19 outbreak.
And that as a result of meticulous infection control measures which include a sufficient supply of Personal Protective Equipment, they’re relieved to announce that no deaths have happened inside the Lark Hill community as a consequence of COVID 19 and that their diligence, attention and care continues.
The spokeswoman maintained that they value their relationship with Nadia Whittome, as they do with all MPs associated with their retirement communities, and that Nadia joined them as a casual worker, to help their care team and they welcomed her contribution, giving support to eight care shifts during March and April.
And that now their in house care team are meeting their needs at this time and Nadia Whittome’s help is no longer required, and that at Lark Hill, they have over three months supply of Personal Protective Equipment, including over 25,000 pairs of gloves, 7,700 aprons and approximately 6,000 masks and that they have access to further equipment should they require it.
They further said that reports that they have a PPE deficit is incorrect and that it’s caused concerns amongst their residents, and that they’ve had to spend a notable amount of staff time consoling their residents as a result.
But we also need to look at the way our NHS workers are being treated and while most of us clap on Thursday evenings, there are loonies out there that believe it’s okay to slash their tyres, leave ominous notes and sometimes actually attack them, and at least one of them has been slain in this enemy we call coronavirus.
And whilst this government might not be responsible for private care homes, COVID 19 is sweeping through them and into our community and when there’s a pandemic, a competent government should act everywhere, including prisons and care homes.
Because our government has had a dereliction of responsibility, and if you defend them, you defend every needless death.
We’ve already had more than 30,000 deaths and we’re still getting hundreds more, which tells us that there are countless more deaths to come before we get through this, which means this is a failure on a grand scale.
But also remember that this virus didn’t decimate care homes on its own. The harm was done a long time ago when the government expected private patients to meet a premium to meet the shortfall of money that they had made councils cut from their care budget needed to pay for the most basic and cheapest care packages available.
And most were not fit for purpose, solely because they couldn’t afford to pay for what is required to be an alternative to a geriatric ward with a hospital setting attached to it, to back them up with all the patient’s medical records, but it simply can’t be done properly on the cheap.
There’s a marked distinction between lying and speaking out, but there are numerous people who don’t like others speaking out, particularly a young woman like Nadia Whittome, and it seems that anyone who gives their view, whether it be through the media or social media, swiftly that opinion disappears or even that person disappears.
The thing with all MPs, they like to be centre of attention, so that they can get themselves noticed in the tabloids, like ordering lockdown and then ordering PPE that’s not fit for purpose or ignoring UK companies making PPE for our front line workers, then sending it abroad – oh, and then refusing to adhere to safety measures and going round shaking hands with all and sundry and then needing ICU because they got the virus.
Lark Hill is not a care home, it’s an independent living village for older people. Some of whom own their own homes and some there that rent. It does have facilities, and about a third of the residents within the Village get some care or support, depending on their circumstances. The Village is a throbbing community, well, it was once. With residents involved in numerous clubs, classes and social events.
As for people speaking out, no one should be quelled for speaking out about things, or the government’s ineptitude with PPE, and it’s a shame that Nadia Whittome was dismissed for speaking out.
Nadia Whittome comes from a humble background, and contrary to the opinion of the media, her sincerity of the PPE deficits at the Extra Care Lark Hill retirement village, in all likelihood is possibly an unbiased appraisal of the actual situation.
Furthermore, speaking to the media about her work is certainly not a sackable offence, which leads to the retirement village having something to hide, and in due course, when a public inquiry is eventually conducted of the government’s inappropriate response to COVID 19, the need of PPE and its shortcomings within care homes to address COVID 19 deaths, it shall be analysed with the truth and revealed of the actual deficit of PPE.
And some people don’t like anything which shows this country for what it is with over 30,000 people dead, thanks to the ineptitude of those some of us support.
What this confirms is that the private sector will never be able to be completely nullified from its financial obligations, even when it’s attempting to run its charitable firm, just like private schools that need funding from the parents of the children they educate.
The spokeswoman for the Trust, whom I’m guessing is paid to address responses to bad news said that there was sufficient safety equipment, and yet they’re firing staff at a time when any one of us could get ill, which looks a tad suspect because there’s always work to be done or care to give.
And it only needs one death there to start the ball rolling and before you know it people will be dropping like flies, and any weaknesses have to be disclosed because it’s a life or death matter and like it or not, the time to report shortcomings is before you’ve got any deaths.
It’s no use waiting until five or so are dead because then the tipping point has been reached and then you’re on your way to way more deaths, but it appears that they’d sooner carry on putting patients and staff in danger and that’s simply sickening and reprehensible behaviour, and how dare they suppress people like this because this then displays their total hatred for our front line workers.
And it now seems that we’re living in a put up and shut-up country where bully’s reign and people are too frightened to speak up about unbearable work conditions for fear of losing their jobs.