Covid Scotland: Edinburgh and Glasgow councils ask staff to cover shifts at care homes

Teachers and nursery staff in Scotland have been asked to cover shifts at short-staffed care homes over the festive period.

The measures have been taken in “extraordinary times which require extraordinary actions”, said Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

HSCPs around the country are dealing with widespread staff shortages in social care, exacerbated by both the festive period and staff falling ill with Covid-19 or being required to self-isolate.

“Like the rest of Scotland, in Edinburgh, we’re continuing to deal with challenging care staff shortages as well as a growing demand and need for care services,” said a spokesperson for Edinburgh HSCP.

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

"We’ve remained transparent on these pressures throughout. These are without doubt extraordinary times, which require extraordinary short and longer-term actions to mitigate challenges wherever possible.”

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Edinburgh City Council has reached out to “wider council colleagues” to ask if they can take on shifts during care homes over the festive period, the spokesperson said.

Glasgow HSCP said only staff with relevant caring and support experience, such as teachers or nursery staff, would be considered.

Volunteers will be paired with experienced care workers and paid enhanced overtime.

They may be asked to help with family visiting over Christmas, but will not distribute medication as only qualified members of staff can do this.

A Glasgow HSCP spokesperson said: “Due to higher than usual staff absences because people are having to self-isolate, are ill or are taking much needed time off over Christmas, we have asked for assistance from colleagues within other areas of health and social care and the council to work alongside our experienced team in our five HSCP care homes.

“Our care homes are currently full and open for visiting and we want to ensure residents and their families have a safe and enjoyable festive period. We are looking for people with relevant caring and support experience such as nursery staff to help cover the public holidays in particular.

“Resident and staff safety is at the heart of everything we do and that remains our highest priority. Volunteers with relevant experience would be deployed alongside an experienced member of our team.”

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