Coronavirus: Jersey care homes have 'grave concerns' over PPE

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Nurses putting on PPEImage source, Press Association
Image caption,
Jersey Care Commission's chief inspector said homes had been contacting them with concerns for weeks

Jersey care homes have raised "grave concerns" over the "availability and quality" of personal protective equipment (PPE), the island's care regulator has said.

Jersey Care Commission chief inspector Audrey Murphy said worries about supplies were sent to them for weeks.

However, Ms Murphy said the situation had improved and homes can communicate better with the government.

The Government of Jersey said they were "meeting local demand" of PPE.

Ms Murphy said: "The Jersey Care Commission has been contacted by a number of homes over the last few weeks raising grave concerns as to the availability and quality of PPE."

The commission has been escalating these issues to Health and Community Services on an almost daily basis and had secured a direct line of contact for care homes to inform the government about their needs, she confirmed.

Ms Murphy said: "Overall I think the picture is improving somewhat.

"However, in the earlier stages of the spread of coronavirus in Jersey I wouldn't have been able to say that."

'Cannot be sure'

Ms Murphy added homes had also passed on concerns with a lack of "timely" public health advice, as well as "possibly conflicting" guidance issued by the government.

She said: "From time to time there have been some varying views around infection prevention and control advice."

The combination of both these concerns were putting strains on the already challenging staffing situation in Jersey care homes, Ms Murphy said.

"These are managers who from one day to the next cannot be sure of what their staffing ratios are going to be.

"If timely testing isn't undertaken and infection prevention and control advice isn't obtained in a timely manner, the manager is left with a very unstable staffing situation," she added.

The government said "reliable sources" of PPE are now "meeting local demand as the world adapts to the global shortage".

"Health and Community Services are in daily contact with care providers on the availability and distribution of PPE."

They added "clear guidelines" are available on PPE for both care homes and workers.

"Public Health advice is updated as policies change to respond to the fast-moving situation, and any changes are communicated directly with the care sector."

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