Infection Control Standards For Adult Care Homes
UNISON Scotland's Response to the Scottish Executive
Health Department Consultation on Infection Control Standards for
Adult Care Homes
UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to
contribute to this consultation document.
The role of trade unions as crucial to the development
and implementation of infection control standards needs to be
incorporated into the document. Trade unions should be partners
throughout the process of infection control.
Training and education for all workers in adult
care homes is vital to any infection control programmes.
The Scottish Executive should recognise issues
of resources and capacity building which need to be addressed
for the successful implementation of the infection control standards.
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union representing
150,000 members working in the public sector. UNISON represents
workers throughout the public sector, including the health service,
local authorities, and the voluntary and care sectors. We have substantial
membership in the care homes sector, both working for local authorities
and voluntary organisations, and therefore we welcome the opportunity
to contribute to this consultation.
This paper constitutes UNISON Scotland's response
to the Scottish Executive Health Department's consultation on Infection
Control Standards for Adult Care Homes.
Composition of the Working Group - Role of Trade
First, UNISON Scotland would like to express our disappointment
at the absence of trade unions on the Working Group that developed
these proposals. Trade unions play a vital role in developing and
maintaining a healthy working environment. Indeed statistics from
the Labour Resource Department show that workplaces that are trade
union organised are likely to be twice as safe as those that are
not union organised. With this in mind, we think it is regretable
that trade unions were not included in the working group, and that
the potential role of unions was not incorporated into the draft
UNISON Scotland believes trade unions should be an
integral part of developing, implementing and monitoring infection
control programmes in adult care homes. Trade union representatives,
including trade union health and safety representatives play crucial
roles in ensuring health and safety in the workplace. We want to
see specific references to the role of the union rep in the draft
The appropriate trade union reps should be included
on the Infection Control Group (Standard 2). This will ensure that
workers views are represented, and that the knowledge and specialist
skills of the trade union can be incorporated in the work of the
Infection Control Group.
The Infection Control Key Worker(s) (Standard 3) should
be required to work closely with the trade union health and safety
representative. Again, this will mean that the Infection Control
Key Worker can draw on the specialist knowledge of the union rep,
and will ensure that workers are protected and advised on the implementation
of the infection control programme, and on any infection control
If the Infection Control Group has trade union representation
on it, then it is likely that the annual Infection Control Programme
(Standard 5) will have been developed in consultation with employees
and unions. UNISON Scotland believes that employees in care homes
are important stakeholders in this service, and should therefore
be consulted appropriately, along with service users.
UNISON would expect trade union representatives to
be fully involved in the audit of compliance with infection control
policies / procedures / guidelines (Standard 7). Audit results should
be automatically reported to the trade union representatives, along
with the Infection Control Report (Standard 8). As noted above,
the expertise of trade unions in health and safety initiatives should
assist the Infection Control Group in its work.
Training and Education
UNISON Scotland strongly welcomes the provision for
education, training and support for all staff in infection control
(Standard 10). We particularly welcome the point to include staff
employment by support services, and take this to include workers
employed by a contractor. This education and training should be
provided with the support of the trade unions, and we welcome the
proposals to keep records of staff attendance at training.
As noted above we believe companies or organisations
contracted to provide services should ensure that their staff are
trained in infection control procedures. UNISON is clear that all
contractors should be required to adhere to the infection control
programmes (Standard 4).
Resources and Capacity
In order to properly and fully implement infection
control standards adult care homes and other such organisations
will require resources for training, personnel, equipment, auditing
and reporting. UNISON is concerned that adult care homes in many
cases already face many demands on tight budgets. In addition, we
note that not all care homes in the voluntary and private sectors
have the capacity in terms of personnel, experience and expertise
to implement infection control standards.
Whilst we note the additional resources the Scottish
Executive has recently provided for the care homes sector, we are
still concerned that the resources and capacity are currently not
at the levels required to implement infection control programmes
effectively. In terms of capacity building, we believe that trade
unions can play an important role in assisting and supporting the
sector to achieve best practice.
For Further Information Please Contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0141-332 0006 Fax 0141 342 2835
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