Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome, says she was “sacked” from her role as a care worker for speaking out about PPE shortages on Newsnight.
Whittome had returned to work as a volunteer carer at Lark Hill retirement village, run by Extra Care charitable Trust.
But she said on Tuesday Extra Care told her that she would no longer be offered shifts because of her comments regarding the lack of protective equipment and her concerns about the safety of staff and residents. Extra Care Charitable Trust say that her services were no longer required and strongly refute her allegations about PPE shortages.
PPE shortages and shoddy workers rights are a national scandal. This isn't unique to me.
The real story is poverty… https://t.co/npVqWoQK9j
Whittome had said that staff received just one protective mask per day and relied on donations of homemade visors from the public. She also claimed that staff were restricted from access to the PPE store cupboard over apparent fears staff would steal and profit from masks if they were given the opportunity.
Whittome has said she is “appalled” by the care provider’s actions.
Speaking to PA, the MP said she will not back down:
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.
I can survive being effectively sacked for speaking out because I have another income.
But for so many people in social care – who work a skilled, exhausting and now dangerous job for poverty pay – speaking out is not an option. This is wrong and dangerous for care home residents and patients.
Her former employer denies Whittome’s claims regarding shortages, saying they are “inaccurate” in a lengthy statement:
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 needed.
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.
Nadine, please don't try to distract from your government's failure to provide PPE by implying that front line care… https://t.co/IHqLcVVdlr
However, one of Whittome’s colleagues anonymously told the Daily Mirror that Whittome had stated "[nothing] but facts”.
“Nadia didn’t come back as an MP, she came back as the same person she was when she left to become an MP - which is a caring, kind, grounded woman who never forgot where she came from, who cares for residents like a member of her family,” the colleague 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”.