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Covid and Work, Covid Advice and General Chat

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Max68, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

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    Hope you all don't mind but I thought we might see a few threads popping up regarding returning to work and Covid and thought it may be a good idea to start a thread for that purpose.

    I'm due back in the classroom in September and to be honest am very anxious about it and am expecting calls from both my Union and GP over the coming days with "hopefully" some advice. Spoke briefly to the Union this morning and they said the Government really has cut down on the protection for those they classed as vulnerable not so long ago so she said she understands that there will be confusion, concern and worry. So I will place any relevant info here which might help someone else.

    If the mods don't think the thread is appropriate etc please remove, but I think if we have a work thread in one place it might help flooding the forum with different posts!
     
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  2. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

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    I think that could be very helpful. As it stands at the moment the advice is still to minimize contact outside immediate household and work from home if can . If cant work must be covid secure. It sounds quite straightforward. Those that are shielding will be bought "down" to vulnerable. The problem seems to be the inconsistency out there by GPs and employers. I think the knowledge about how this virus affects the body is growing but not necessarily the advice to vulnerable groups,we are pretty much left to make our own decisions. I work in a care home that has lost a third of its residents to Covid, to get to work I need to take two buses. They ignore requests for individual risk assessments,alternative role etc. Just say I cant social distance in my role. They have paid me zilch since end of March. The Union are involved but it's a slow process which seems steeped in pre Covid practices. The only way I can either work or prove not Covid safe is too put myself at risk. At the beginning of pandemic my GP felt it was very unwise for me to be there but there was no box to tick for those who not shielded. Theres no not safe to work certificate. Last month she signed me off with work based stress. She said she had lots of patients in similar position and that this situation could carry on for the foreseeable future,she seemed quite weary of it all. There seem very few answers but the potential risk seems as high as ever. Fortunately I have a small amount of savings that can carry me through to the New Year.
     
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  3. Danni_pinay

    Danni_pinay Type 1 · Newbie

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    See i also teach, however I also work with animals. So I have consistently been at work through out the whole lock down. I have been working around a very small number of other staff and animals that too can get and die from covid. For me personally, the animals I work with need me and my teams help and as long as I am sensible and keep my distance, I don't feel a made a bad choice, I'm sure some may disagree!
    However the return of all the students too makes me slightly worried, but I have stood my ground and consitantly made it clear I won't be working in small animal areas or rooms with learners as its not safe as a t1d. But I am lucky and there's been no disagreement!
    Sorry to hear some are having a hard time with work...not what anyone needs!
     
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  4. UK T1

    UK T1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree the lack of consensus between GPs is unacceptable. I feel incredibly lucky that my consultant recommended I shield, and when I told my GP they agreed. I am under 40, no other health conditions and HbA1c between 47-53 over the years so by all accounts I am low risk. However the thing that made my consultant recommend shielding was my job, as I also work in a school, and he did not believe social distancing would be possible. Indeed, it has now been accepted that children are not expected to follow social distancing measures, but that staff should. My employer recognised the current school set up would not enable distancing and indeed many staff who have been in with the key workers have since been off ill.

    The inconsistency has put people at the mercy of their employers. Luckily I have understanding employers and have had plenty of work to do from home, and have if anything been working longer hours than usual, but also full pay the whole time. Our work policy clearly states all vulnerable adults (Inc extremely vulnerable) require a risk assessment before returning to work, so I'm still not sure what my job looks like for September. All measures introduced in schools have to be funded by the schools themselves, so it is incredibly hard for them given the lack of funding over the years.

    Is it not a requirement for employers to provide a 'covid safe' work environment? Shielding has been paused, but the wording of the letter makes me think no one else has been downgraded, just that everyone should be stringently following social distancing measures?
     
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  5. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

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    Good morning. I went on Gov.Uk after writing entry and specific advice seems to have changed to a general social distancing, not mixing with others outside your household work from home if you can. Which is fine.
    Covid safe environment is as reliant on employees as much as employers. Who is checking /enforcing? I worked for the local council for 30 years and there standards of risk assessment,particularly H&S are high. Partly due to professionalism,maybe also due to employees being more informed and having more secure terms and conditions. The move to the private sector is an eye opener as anyone who has witnessed the mass panic before a CQC inspection will tell you. My company isnt a particularly bad one,they own 5 homes and residents looked after well and by caring staff. H&S basics are there but not to same degree.Even before pandemic it was not unknown to have to root around for PPE and incontinence products. They have posts on most of social media showing positive images of staff in scrubs with visors etc,I know they have worked with PHE, staff have undergone Coronavirus training etc. I was even wondering last night if I was being over cautious! I'm also on an APP where you can be made aware of shifts etc,see who is working,see messages etc. Last night there was a message from manager telling staff they must wear PPE at all times and change gloves between residents! REALLY? It's also apparent how many long term staff have left so it's a mix of new permenant staff and looking at staffing levels they must be using agency. Covid is apparently back in the building, they are back on full lockdown, no staff movement between floors etc. Apologies for lengthy reply but sometimes what appears to be Covid safe really isnt. If it's any comfort from posts here and elsewhere education seems to be the most consistently supportive employers. Interestingly NHS much less so, Health and Social Care in private sector luck of the draw!
     
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  6. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

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    Hope this thread can become a good place for advice, and or merely to vent!

    Just my two pennyworth so far. Spoke to my Head yesterday and understandably as the Government wants all school children back in September all staff are expected back as well. I've been placed as support in Science and not sure if that's deliberate, but I get on really well with that teacher and he has previous lung issues and I know one of his children has type 1 , so if you are going to get a colleague who will probably be cautious it's him! The Science Lab is probably the biggest classroom so the lesser of evils possibly when it comes to social distancing and ventilation. The Head also told me that when I'm not in Science he will try and place me covering in PE and any other outdoor lesson. I will also talk to my Line Manager and ask if I can for instance support lunch breaks in the playground rather than in the lunch hall. I will also ask if I can wear a mask or maybe even a visor. I will probably have lunch in my car with a big pot of hand sanitizer handy rather than risk the small staffroom!

    Personally I think everyone in a school should wear a mask but that's for the Government to decide and with their previous performance will only decide this after the horse has bolted, they have never made one proactive decision in months, always reactive. This is half the problem. Schools and other employers are purely going on Government advice which is shabby at best and downright dangerous at worst.

    Can't get hold of my GP at the moment but even if she says to continue to work from home, there isn't any work from home anymore, so I either risk it or hand in my notice, but if you leave a job on your own decision then you cannot claim Universal Credit for some time! Just hope my Lottery numbers come up before September!

    My Union says it's a nightmare,. They say Government advice is really hazy to the extent that they are pretty much starting to leave the decisions to everyone else, which smacks of a Government who want to avoid getting the blame and will therefore just blame individual's or companies when things go wrong. The Union said that they will just update as time goes on as the advice will probably have changed again come September! They did however say I should have a risk assessment so will also mention that to my Line Manager.

    I might be sounding a bit dramatic here but I feel a bit like I am sitting on Death Row just about to start a game of Russian Roulette! We can all reduce our risks massively in our personal lives, with home delivery or click and collect for food, shop online, cut our own hair etc but when it comes to work you really can't do much bar what your employer puts in place!

    Wish I still drove a van for a living!!!
     
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  7. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    Four months in to this, have your risk factors modified at all? Has you HbA1c reduced, or your hypertentions (apologies if I mis-remembered the reasons you are shielding) become better controlled?

    Would that not ne a suitable challenge with your GP? Surely, he can help with those aspects?
     
  8. AmandaThompson

    AmandaThompson · Newbie

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    I work in retail and have been shielding/furloughed. Originally until end of October, then work brought it forward to end of July. Late Friday I got an email from work saying I am to return tomorrow. I work in the town centre and would normally get a train in. I have been really anxious, as apart from my diabetes, I have a heart condition, graves disease, ehler's danlos, and am also black. My gp has not contacted me at all during all this. My boss told me to stay home on 16th March and that is where I've remained. Until tomorrow. I am so so scared. It's not my colleagues or my workplace itself, it's the idiots out there who flout the guidelines and put everyone at risk. Being a single parent in addition to all the rest, I cannot afford to catch this awful disease. Not definite it would prove fatal, but also not definite it wouldn't. I don't know where to turn for proper advice. My boss has offered me a parking space, which I'll take up so I swerve public transport, but I'm still scared. Am I being too sensitive?
     
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  9. SusanMonk

    SusanMonk · Newbie

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    There's so little information out there, I have ended up leaving my job due to the anxiety and stress, I worked in a small shop , no running water, customers would be 80cm away from me with just a 60cm screen between us, pin pad was at side of screen, no ventilation apart from open door. No individual risk assessment ,screen and hand sanitiser is fine! I'm also asthmatic and high BP, GP signed me off but all I had from boss was, I'm not paying you to sit at home, perhaps you should leave.. so I did! Worried that I was oversensitive, especially when you see health care workers saying I have X, Y and Z but still working makes me feel silly for being so scared.
     
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  10. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion everybody is so very different despite the fact we may share certain health conditions. In that respect, I find that a 'my Company needs me/what will happen to my patients if I don't go in' attitude is not really the point. Of course NONE of us want to let people down but we shouldn't be shamed into putting our own health and safety second just for the purposes of work. I absolutely agree we should all be returning to 'normal' as fast as safely possible but this requires our Employers to conduct proper risk assessments. Some people may hold what I call a gung ho attitude to returning but those of us that are concerned (especially when going back into certain roles) are not in some way pathetic or inferior or that horrible term, 'snowflakes'. We have families, we simply want to be safe within reason, not hiding behind our sofas.
     
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  11. UK T1

    UK T1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Have you had an official shielding letter? It clearly states you should work from home if possible. Are there duties you can offer to do when the shop is closed or quiet? Sorry for the generalisation but either any sort of admin, planning, or restocking? Perhaps negotiating working hours so you're not there during the busiest of times (I'll assume weekends for example?)

    My concern with covid has always been the difficulty in glucose management knowing how ill I get with just a cold or 'normal' flu. I haven't so much worried about being hospitalised, but more so having the week or so in bed needing to rely on others for food, hygiene help and diabetes management, as is usually the case if I get bad colds or flu. It makes it difficult to know if I'm overreacting, as I keep trying to explain it isn't being hospitalised that I'm worried about.
     
  12. Picci

    Picci Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Dear Max,
    I am currently at loggerheads with my head teacher due to him refusing to give me (and all staff) the choice to wear a face shield/mask.

    I knew he had had a number of run ins with teachers who have asked, but I believed in my case, (type 1 and been shielding since March,) he would allow me.

    I’m in the NEU and there is a new set of criteria for opening up.....I could send you all the information.

    I have been in touch with my consultant and I’m awaiting a phone call to discuss this, and I hope he puts it in writing that he suggests I am allowed to wear PPE.

    I’m a teaching assistant, but my head continues to refer back to the ‘government guidelines’ which stated educational staff do not need PPE even if we are within 2m of distance.

    I know, and I have been flabbergasted at how he is dealing with this, I sent him supporting evidence from SAGE, WHO and the British Medical Association, but he continues to dig his heels in.

    My school Union Rep is fighting for me, and a number of others who have vulnerable family members and other comorbidities ( high blood pressure/ over weight/ age).

    I’ll keep you posted.

    Christine
     
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  13. WelshMe83

    WelshMe83 · Newbie

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    I work in pretty much every school in my local authority. I had the first shielding letter but not an extension to it which would have lasted until August the 16th I believe.

    I have been allowed to work weekends instead of during the week to avoid contact with people.

    My GP said I can pay for the extension letter as its paid for work to get it written.

    I expressed my concern to management about going back nearly 6 months early and said about the letter but was told they would look into where they stand if I provided one. There's no point in arguing where I work so I went back early even though it makes me anxious just being there now.

    Come September time its business as usual and I'm expected to go back to mingling with staff and students in 80% of the schools in my area.

    Seriously considering handing my notice in. I don't think I'm more important than anyone, we are all equal but the facts show I'm more at risk than the rest of my colleagues.

    There's not really any way I can see for any social distancing in my workplace at all. But I get the feeling that as far as management are concerned work and profit come before safety.
     
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  14. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

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    Heartfelt virtual hugs to all of above. There have been so many times when I have wondered if I'm being over cautious to the point of paranoid. I think it's the constant push for life to return to normal balanced with even our ineffective governments advice to mix as little as possible with others etc etc. Whether I was just lucky I dont know,but on one bad day I called the diabetes.uk helpline and they were incredibly good. My gut feeling is that outside of our homes the guidelines are there but it's up to the individual to negotiate with employers etc with variable support from health care professionals. Rightly or wrongly I do feel that despite the public wailing over the deaths of front line workers, especially BAME and those with underlying conditions very little has changed, if anything. I certainly dont want to be another statistic in 6 months time with lessons will be learnt as my epitaph!
     
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  15. JRT

    JRT · Well-Known Member

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    One area I'm not sure of is whether diabetes is a disability? According to diabetes helpline it's a protected characteristic. I do wonder if there is a basis for protection on grounds of discrimination?
     
  16. UK T1

    UK T1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    My understanding was that type 1 definitely is classed as a disability. Sorry I'm not sure if this extends to all types.
     
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  17. LooperCat

    LooperCat Type 1 · Expert

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    I’ve had a four month fight with my university to be allowed to go back on front line emergency ambulances after all the students were pulled off placement and put on study leave in March - they’ve been back out on placement for weeks but I have been stopped from going due to diabetes - despite working with actual COVID patients on the non-emergency ambulances since Easter. Anyway, after my fourth appeal, I finally got clearance to resume my paramedic training next week, so I’m delighted to be back out on the nee-nahs :D I’m to maintain social distance when I can and wear a mask when I can’t. Which is what I’ve been doing since day one of this plague.
     
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  18. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

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    My BP seems ok when taken at home, anything from 110/74 ish to 130/85, depending on circumstances, it's when the diabetes nurse takes it it shoots up to 150/95!! Heart rate is always 90/100 at rest but got it checked out last year. Weirdly after exercise it only rises to 125 ish so not concerned on those areas now so much. HBA1c jumped for some reason from 48 to 58 from June 19 to Dec 20 after being stable at 48 for two years. Was meant to have another HBA1c check in June but the surgery weren't doing them. Have tried to get through to GP all this week with no luck so far!
     
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  19. Max68

    Max68 · Well-Known Member

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    Thank you appreciate it...
     
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  20. porl69

    porl69 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I was furloughed for 9 weeks, longest 9 weeks of my life. I work in a very busy garage as a receptionist. Keys are wiped with anti-bac when handed to me, regular anti-bac wipe down of the surfaces and regular hand washing....I don't in any way feel at risk.
     
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