29th February 2020 the chairman of the Commons Health Committee, and former Tory health secretary, Jeremy Hunt said that we need to consider the ‘social and economic trade-offs’ we are willing to make to contain Covid-19.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said:

Employers have a duty of care to support workers affected by coronavirus. No one should have to worry about making ends meet if they have to self-isolate or if they fall ill. They should be able to focus on getting better.

The threat of coronavirus shows why sick pay should be a day one right for everybody. It’s unacceptable that millions of UK workers miss out on this protection. The Government must ensure everyone gets statutory sick pay, however much they earn.

The SHA strongly supports the view of the TUC and urges that this scheme is extended to those on ‘self employment’ contracts – part of the 3 million plus ‘Gig economy’. We would argue further that employers should make up SSP to the average pay of workers to ensure they are under absolutely no financial pressure to attend work while they are unwell and may inadvertently pass on the disease.

Should the coronavirus outbreak spread significantly everyone will be expected to respond putting the interests of the community first. Undoubtedly workers will volunteer long hours and take on exceptional responsibilities. This will increase the risk of errors which will need to be balanced against the risk of failure to treat patients in a mass outbreak. We urge professional bodies to be aware of this.

The SHA congratulates trade union and Labour leaders for engaging with the government and employers and instructs our incoming leadership to move very rapidly to promote this position through forceful lobbying, online petitions and other appropriate means.

During the debate important points were raised regarding:

1.) Enforced quarantine – it should be paid in full.

2.) Government requisition private care facilities if circumstances require it.

3.) Government to consider early releases of prisoners not judged to be a risk to society – because of high COVID-19 spread risk in confined overcrowded prison populations (also note criminalisation of sections of society).

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2 Comments

  1. Maureen says:

    Fine if only the government will also pay those people on welfare benefit whom are disabled and had their benefits stopped when they should have
    continued to be paid.

    Justified by stating that the government are looking after tax payers money
    and not notice that some people like my husband and myself

    Like my 57-year-old son who is mentally handicapped/autistic spectrum/challenging behaviour, who lost the Disability Living Allowance because of not attending a face to face assessment when he cannot understand/grasp the importance of why
    he should report for duty!
    There is no understanding that people with such little amounts of money
    will be struggling to cope on a day-to-day basis and unable to afford to
    stock up.
    My son was recognized from a baby that he was different by Great Ormond Street hospital also by educational system and attended special schools
    from 5 to 19 years old
    also, MENCAP residential care home.

    However, when it came to finding his medical records held by GP to support the disability, was informed they were not found and suddenly GP/
    CCG requested that he find another GP practice, in fact all family were requested to find another practice on grounds that the CCG would not pay for our health care stating we were out of the geographical area that practice covered,
    although we had been there for almost 12 years!
    This all came about when, requested by DWP of proof of disability, and summoned to attend face to face interview but even with his newer
    GP supportive letters to DWP, they have refused to reinstate the DLA
    and have pursued claiming back several thousand pounds for premium
    addition to DLA.

    I worry what will happen to those I physically care for if something happens to me, my sons and husband are on the autistic spectrum with learning disability and physical ill health, Parkinson’s, diabetes, asthma, under functioning thyroid, sleep apnoea, brain aneurysm, curvature of spine-scolliosis, dementia,
    Raynauds, allergies, acid reflux, anxiety disorder, deafness, high blood
    pressure, deformed feet, arthritis and inability to identify/recognize glucose
    levels, unable to self direct efficiently without assistance and then begrudging the person assisting and then having to cope with this on a daily basis 24/7.

    There has not been any recognition from any political party of the impact
    on disabled and carers whom firstly cannot afford to stock up on food because they don’t have the money to do so and food banks will be without
    stock too.

  2. Mark LADBROOKE says:

    Yes the mistreatment of people on disability benefit is shameful. You are quite right. If you are involved it disability rights campaigning please let us know about the work you are doing.

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