/MP Nadia Whittome sacked as carer after speaking out about PPE shortage

MP Nadia Whittome sacked as carer after speaking out about PPE shortage


LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome attends Andrew Marr's BBC Political Sunday Morning Show at BBC Broadcast House on on January 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome temporarily returned to her old job as a carer to help out on the frontline (Picture: Getty Images)

Britain’s youngest MP says she was sacked from her temporary role as a carer for speaking out about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff.

Labour’s Nadia Whittome, 24 returned to her former job at Lark Hill retirement village to help relieve the strain on the care service as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. She worked at the home for 18 months before becoming MP for Nottingham East.

She says she had been donating her wages to the local Covid-19 relief fund until she was dropped from her job. Last night Ms Whittome claimed she had been ‘asked not to return’ by ExtraCare, who run the facility.

The MP claims she had been accused of ‘spreading misinformation’ about the lack of vital medical equipment in the media. She said the reason behind the decision to terminate her role was based on an interview she gave to Newsnight on April 24 about inadequate supply of PPE.

She had previously complained staff were given only one face mask each per day, meaning the same mask was used for multiple residents. Ms Whittome said members of the public donated homemade visors and the store cupboard containing PPE was locked due to fears staff would steal it to sell on.

The Labour member further claimed an onsite ‘well-being nurse’ had told staff masks do not make a difference but they could buy one from Screwfix if it made them feel more comfortable.

The MP added: ‘I am appalled that ExtraCare have chosen this course of action, without following any due process and without me ever having portrayed them negatively in the media.

‘I will continue to speak the truth about my front-line experiences and I condemn care companies who try to gag staff for speaking out and raising concerns. I can survive being effectively sacked for speaking out because I have another income.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jonathan Hordle/REX (10527581e) Nadia Whittome 'Peston' TV show, Series 4, Episode 1, London, UK - 15 Jan 2020
Britain’s youngest MP says she was told to go because she was vocal about a shortage of PPE (Picture: REX)

‘But for so many people in social care – who work a skilled, exhausting and now dangerous job for poverty pay – speaking out is not an option.

‘This is wrong and dangerous for care home residents and patients.’

Ms Whittome is now calling all care staff anywhere in the UK who feel they have faced intimidation or disciplinary action at work for speaking out about PPE shortages to contact her office in confidence.

She said ExtraCare made it explicit she was being asked not to return because of her comments about PPE.

In a video posted on Twitter, she said: ‘It is really important that we get a picture of the scale of this happening across the country.’

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video


BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Right At Home care worker Sarah Cox puts lip gloss on client Patricia Taylor at her home during the coronavirus pandemic on May 06, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. Sarah Cox continues to work during the coronavirus pandemic, visiting clients in their own homes to help with daily personal care routines. She has been provided with full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) by her employer. The UK is continuing quarantine measures intended to curb the spread of Covid-19, but the infection rate is falling, and government officials are discussing the terms under which it would ease the lockdown. (Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
Care workers across the country need face masks, gloves and protective visors (Picture: Getty Images)

Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted: ‘Carers, right across our country, are putting their lives on the line for others but they aren’t being provided the Personal Protective Equipment they need. No-one should be sacked for speaking out.’

ExtraCare said Ms Whittome returned to work on a casual basis and had worked eight shifts between March and April.

In a statement the charitable trust said: ‘Our in-house care team are now fulfilling our needs at this time and Nadia’s help is no longer needed.

‘At Lark Hill, we have over three months’ supply of PPE, including over 25,000 pairs of gloves, 7,700 aprons and nearly 6,000 masks – we have access to further equipment should we need it.

‘Reports that we have a PPE shortage are inaccurate and have caused concern amongst our residents – we have had to invest a significant amount of staff time reassuring our residents as a result.

‘This has occurred during a critical period when all of our resources have to be focused on protecting our residents’ safety and welfare.’

Lark Hill, in Clifton, Nottingham, is the largest retirement village in the UK and has 419 residents, ExtraCare said.

It added: ‘As a result of rigorous infection control measures which include a full supply of PPE, we are relieved to report that no deaths have occurred within the Lark Hill community as a result of Covid-19. Our vigilance, care and concern continue.’

One of Ms Whittome’s colleagues at the retirement village who wished to remain anonymous said: ‘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 is a caring, kind, grounded woman who never forgot where she came from, who cares for residents like a member of her family.

‘We are dumbfounded as to why an excellent caring worker has been dismissed.

‘We have been following Nadia’s interviews and she hasn’t stated anything other than facts.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Original Source