1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2021 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

Am I obliged to go to work if there's an outbreak of Covid-19?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Silkroad77, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Silkroad77

    Silkroad77 Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Hello all,

    I've been trying to look this up online, I cannot seem to find an answer, or if I do, it's confusing, as it seems to indicate that I'll be ever safer than the safest person on earth:banghead: ;):wacky::rolleyes:

    1) I am Type 1-and my blood sugar levels are all over the place, despite counting carbs and having the same amount every time, watching what I eat, watching my portions, and exercising
    2) I work in a Care Home
    3) I am South Asian background

    I am in my early 40's, so any 'you're highest risk' doesn't apply to me.

    Of course the above doesn't place my in a extremely vulnerable position, however, if there is a breakout, what are my options, considering the above three points.

    Will I have to still go into work?
    Will I have to ask for a shielding letter (my surgery are taking 6-8 weeks to write any kind of letter or note)

    Will I be completely and utterly safe-and even safer than everybody else, as long as I wear a mask, wash hands regularly and maintain social distancing?
    This is difficult as 3 service users stand right close to us, cough without covering their mouths, and touch us-despite being told multiple times, by multiple staff not to do this, and being told of the dangers and risks of Covid-19)

    Is there any grounds for me to want to stay at home and wait it out, and get furloughed, or is furlough only purely for if you have covid-19 and nothing else?

    Thanks for reading this.
     
  2. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    885
    Trophy Points:
    133
    I would at first call speak with a Union - (if you are with one). Also I would request "in writing" with your input an Individual Risk Assessment from your employer and also speak with your GP. GP's and Unions weren't much use to me (when I worked at a school) last October time but things may have changed since then.

    I worked as I say in a school so don't know much about the Care environment but I think JRT did so will message them and see if they can add to this thread.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    163
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Hi,its a tricky one and a position I was in during first wave.
    Max above says it all really.
    Get in touch with your Union or if in one join one immediately as they can help you through the stages.
    You dont say what your role is in the care home.
    In theory everyone who can should be working from home. If you have an admin role this may be possible.
    Your work environment should be covid safe.
    Your employer should do an individual risk assessment for you which should take into account your diabetes,age and BAME. They should then work with you to see how your role can be adapted to make it as safe as possible. If you are frontline care this may involve a temporary alternative role,maybe in kitchen or admin.
    How do you get to work. If use public transport that is a risk in itself.
    You would need to check with a union regarding furlough. I was told by diabetes uk you didnt have to be shielded to be furloughed, I'm not sure you can still apply for furlough but I could be wrong.
    Every care home and provider is different. How do you view their covid safety? Are surfaces constantly cleaned? Are agency staff used? Are staff and residents regularly tested.? Have you been offered the vaccine yet?
    As I say it depends on your role and ability to socially distance in work setting from both other staff and residents.
    What PPE is available? Are you shown how to properly use it?
    Probably only the PPE you see in hospitals would guarantee your safety but I doubt that would be available.
    Really it comes down to several factors.
    The reputation of your care home . Have they had any covid infections? Do you trust them to protect you as best they can?
    Your could also contact your GP and see if will do a phone consultation about your concerns.
    A lot depends on your personal circumstances. If you are not in work will you be paid? What are the implications of that?
    I wish I could give you a simple answer but there isnt one. The new variant is a bit of a game changer to.
    I hadnt been at work since last March. I have now resigned. They failed to cooperate with all of the above.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Silkroad77

    Silkroad77 Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Thanks Max68,

    Luckily I am with Unison and so will call them tomorrow and get advice, hopefully they won't be useless, as they've been before with me, for another reason completely!

    Sorry I forgot to mention that it was through works individual risk assessment that I was deemed high risk, I have asked for a full copy, but it doesn't tell me much (what I mean is that the information is minimal.
    Then when I asked them about it, they said I need to get a doctor's note-and my surgery well it takes 6-8 weeks.

    Okay I will see what happens-fingers crossed!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    885
    Trophy Points:
    133
    JRT says it all really, spot on with everything. One thing that you might consider re the wait you have for any fit note, is to see if your GP will write a personal letter. Some surgeries do for a charge of around £25 I think, but be careful with regard to what they might write. I paid for one and it gave me no help at all with work and just stated the obvious so will learn from that one!
     
  6. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    163
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I hope it goes well with unison. They were very thorough when I dealt with them last year,however I felt their hands were tied.
    You are indeed high risk. The general advice seems to be we are no more at risk of catching it but if we do are more likely to suffer severe symptoms.
    No one can guarantee you wont catch covid,especially with new strain.
    Individually we can only look at out own situation and how each element adds to the risk and whether the risk is one you are comfortable with or one you dont want to take.
    My daughter works in a care home where they have had a couple of cases of covid which have been excellently managed and have not spread. Staff are tested weekly and since Christmas have a rapid test before each shift. All staff and residents are now vaccinated.
    The care home I worked for was a very different story. I knew I wouldnt be as safe there. My individual risk assessment was "do as I say and you will be ok".
    Last summer was a constant battle to get them to act appropriately. I was lucky I was in a position to not have to rely on being paid by them.
    Good luck and stay safe.
     
  7. Silkroad77

    Silkroad77 Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Hello JRT and thanks for your replies.

    The risk assessment carried out at work put me at high risk, but of course when I phoned my GP for a letter, they said it'd take 6-8 weeks to get one.

    The issue with where I work is that some of the service users stand right next to you, despite being told lots of times of the risks of covid-19 and the guidelines.
    They also don't wash their hands (with regards to covid-19 guidelines) and then often touch staff-despite being told about covid-19 risks.
    They also cough without covering their mouths, we do wear masks at work, and carry out covid cleaning, and maintain social distance, however, considering they don't always maintain social distancing.

    We've now got weekly covid tests as well.

    So it's not staff being careless or lazy etc, but rather service users potentially putting staff at risk, due to lack of following Covid-19 guidelines.

    After what felt like deliberation, I just got an e-mail from my manager, conforming that I don't have to come into work, if there is an outbreak.
    I was concerned about this as some people in the company I work seem to think that just covid cleaning, following guidelines, wearing PPE is enough to prevent covid, but I know that this doesn't fully 100% guarantee that there won't be a outbreak.

    Care homes and the like are 'breaching social bubble' rules, where sometimes the bubbles are extended up to 20 different homes ( of course you can't have it any other way, as the vulnerable do need care workers and support workers) but there are still up to 20 different households going to support service users, which puts people at risk.
     
  8. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    163
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I think even the best care homes are in an impossible position. As you say the idea of a bubble is impossible unless as some homes did last year and staff move in!
    It is an issue with residents not complying with covid precautions. The only solution seems to be to be to keep each floor as a strictly separate area with no movement between floors of staff etc. It wont stop outbreaks but may contain them. Of course that depends on size of care home and staffing levels.!
    Care workers often get a bad press,and a lot less sympathy than frontline NHS workers. Their job is just as demanding but without fringe benefits of sick pay,decent pensions etc. The dedication of those in private sector can be humbling,they certainly dont do it for the pay!
    Let's hope the vaccination at least eases the pressure.
     
  9. UK T1

    UK T1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Hi, I wondered if you had been involved in developing your risk assessment? I work in a school so can't fully relate, but it is your right to be involved in developing and updating your risk assessment. I have been fortunate that my line managers have been very open to hearing my concerns and suggestions. I did a lot of researching of the typical things other type 1s had had included in their RA so I was able to make suggestions when I was initially presented with a completely empty RA to fill!

    One reasonable adjustment for you might be that you avoid working with service users who can't respect a physical distance/the covid guidelines in place? It might be that there are particular service users you're aware of who repeatedly struggle to remember not to touch you, or don't wear a mask, and it would seem reasonable if you request not to work with them? My RA included a similar clause to say pupils who cannot adhere to the school guidelines on covid would be moved out of my lessons.

    On a different note, my HbA1c has always been under 52 since diagnosis, around 48 in recent years, and I am under the age of 40 with no other conditions, but my consultant recommended I be classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable because of my work setting. They emailed my GP and they agreed. Given the new variant, I would suggest checking if this changes matters. Have you an email address for your consultant/their receptionist/diabetic nurse? It may well depend on case numbers in your local area too? Good luck!
     
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook