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Labour MP 'sacked working as carer after speaking out about PPE shortages'
6 May 2020, 20:29
A Labour MP who returned to her job as a carer during the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed she was fired after speaking out about the supply of PPE.
Nadia Whittome, 23, had re-joined Lark Hill retirement village last month, as cases of coronavirus spiked across the country and would be donating her salary to the local virus support fund.
But while there, she claimed she and her colleagues felt they were being put in danger by the lack of PPE, although never personally blamed the company for the difficulties in the supply.
According to The Mirror, she has now been sent an email by the Extra Care charitable Trust - which runs Lark Hill - informing her she would not be doing any further shifts because she had spoken to journalists about the issue with PPE.
The Nottingham East MP told the newspaper she was "appalled" at being let go, and said it was her "duty to be honest about the lack of PPE and testing".
Ms Whittome added: "I am appalled that ExtraCare have chosen this course of action, without following any due process and without me ever having portrayed them negatively in the media.
"I will continue to speak the truth about my frontline experiences and I condemn care companies who try to gag staff for speaking out and raising concerns."
She has now asked all care workers in the country who have felt intimidated or faced disciplinary action after speaking out about PPE to write to her.
One of her colleagues also spoke to the newspaper, and said: "We are dumbfounded as to why an excellent caring worker has been dismissed. We have been following Nadia’s interviews and she hasn’t stated anything other than facts.”
But the ExtraCare Charitable Trust dismissed reports of a lack of PPE as inaccurate", and said Ms Whittome had been dismissed as her help was "no longer needed".
A spokesperson said: "Lark Hill is the largest retirement village in the UK and home to 419 older people with an average age of 82 years. Our charity’s staff are working day and night to ensure the safety and welfare of our residents who are particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“As a result of rigorous infection control measures which include a full supply of Personal Protective Equipment, we are relieved to report that no deaths have occurred within the Lark Hill community as a result of Covid-19. Our vigilance, care and concern continue.
“We value our relationship with Nadia as we do with all MPs associated with our retirement communities. Nadia joined us as a casual worker, to help our care team and we welcomed her contribution, providing support on eight care shifts during March and April.
"Our in- house care team are now fulfilling our needs at this time and Nadia’s help is no longer
"At Lark Hill, we have over three months’ supply of Personal Protective Equipment, including over 25,000 pairs of gloves, 7,700 aprons and nearly 6,000 masks; we have access to further equipment should we need it.
"Reports that we have a PPE shortage are inaccurate and have caused concern amongst our residents; we have had to invest a significant amount of staff time reassuring our residents as a result.
"This has occurred during a critical period when all of our resources have to be focused on protecting our resident’s safety and welfare.”