Care workers 'banned from wearing PPE' unless resident has clear symptoms

Staff at a care home in Enfield say they are afraid to go to work because there is not enough equipment to protect them.

ITV News London spoke anonymously to two care home workers who say they are banned from wearing personal protective equipment unless a resident has clear symptoms. They also have no access to Covid-19 tests.

It's very scary at the moment, there's a lack of PPE. We haven't got face shields, we haven't got the correct gowns.

Care worker, speaking anonymously

You're brushing their teeth, you're bathing them, if they have symptoms they're going to come straight to me.

Care worker, speaking anonymously

The care workers said all they are given to protect themselves are plastic aprons.

It's like the government are putting care workers to the bottom of the pecking order - it's like we don't matter.

Care worker, speaking anonymously

It is very frightening and everyday you go to work and wonder what you're going to take home.

Care worker, speaking anonymously

Government figures show the number of deaths in care homes from Covid-19 have quadrupled in a week. But many fear the true scale of the problem is much higher.

The leader of Enfield Council says despite half of the borough's care homes now having outbreaks only a tiny proportion of staff have been able to access the tests they were promised.

We have over 5,000 care workers in Enfield and to date just over 100 of them have been tested. The 'ramping up' that the government has described is not happening. You can't announce something and then not have a mechanism for delivering it, not when we're in the middle of a major crisis like this.

Nesil Caliskan, Enfield Council leader

The Government told ITV News they are working round the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support it needs.

It has also set up a helpline for staff to report supply problems with PPE.