Care workers allocated inadequate home-made protective equipment

Home-made hand sanitiser in drinking bottles, provided by an employer to care workers


UNISON has photographs provided of homemade PPE, see links under Notes for editors


Care providers in Wales are going to shocking lengths to equip employees as the shortage of official personal protective equipment (PPE) continues, according to UNISON.

Daily reports from care staff to the trade union complain at the inadequacy of the equipment provided. One worker’s photograph shows goggles they have been given to assemble which “look like they are out of a Christmas cracker”. Another sent UNISON a photograph of home-made hand santiser in drinking bottles provided by the employer. (Links to photos below).

UNISON Cymru Wales has written to the Health and Social Care Minister to highlight the patchy provision of PPE in the care sector. It has called upon Welsh Government and local authorities to urgently ensure workers and clients are properly protected.

The trade union says the complaints are so worrying, it intends to undertake a survey of care workers across Wales so a comprehensive picture can be presented to Welsh Government.

Mark Turner, UNISON Wales social care lead officer, said:

“The failure in provision of appropriate PPE across social care in Wales is staggering and could cost lives.

“UNISON has reports ranging from care workers being expected to assemble their own protective goggles from flimsy materials to workers being provided with homemade disinfectant distributed in drinking bottles.

“Some care workers have told us they’re expected to re-use PPE, with at least one example of someone being advised to keep their single-use face mask in a zip-locked sandwich bag for use on their next shift.

“These practices are not safe and not in line with PPE guidelines. It really is worrying for care workers and the vulnerable people relying on these services that such practices are still going on when we are so far into the COVID19 pandemic.

“We continue to receive reassurances there is enough PPE but, if this is the case, it is clearly not being distributed effectively.

“It is essential all care workers have the protective equipment they need. Welsh Government and councils have a duty to ensure private and non-profit care providers comply with PPE guidelines.”


Notes for editors

Photo 1 Care workers being expected to assemble their own protective goggles from flimsy materials

Photo 2 Care workers being provided with home-made disinfectant distributed in drinking bottles



Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer on 07816 53 83 97