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30 Mar 2020

Social service workforce

Supermarkets asked to grant social service workers priority access

SSSC Chief Executive, Lorraine Gray, has written to seven of the country's leading supermarkets asking them to recognise the vital role social care and social work staff are playing in the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by granting them access to priority shopping hours.

Along with people across the country, I would like to thank you and your staff for making your stores accessible to older and more vulnerable people in our communities during this time of crisis. And for the commitment you have shown to those people working in critical services such as the NHS who would otherwise struggle to get the provisions they need to keep themselves and their families going.

I am aware, however, that this priority access is not widely extended by all of your companies and across all stores to people working in social work and social care services in the same way.

I have now heard countless stories in the last few days of people working in care homes and other care services being turned away during those hours set aside for critical frontline workers.

These people are critical and working at the frontline of this crisis. Some are staying away from their families and living in the services where they work to make sure they can support our grandparents, relatives and friends who need social care as well as medical care.

They are often working long hours, travelling to and from services and looking after people in their homes, supporting people with disabilities who can’t move about as freely as others and who rely on their support workers. They are there for those people coming home from hospital, helping to free up much needed beds in our hospitals, now more than ever.

I urge you to make sure that people working in social care and social work are given access to those priority shopping hours. Without this we risk losing more of the workforce as they will be unable to cope. People working in social services in Scotland usually have local authority or private care company identity badges and many will also carry a card to say they are registered with the SSSC. Many also wear uniforms provided by the services they work in like care home providers.

Our communities need social work and social care staff to get through this crisis and I hope that you will give your support to allow them to carry on doing the life changing work that they do every day.

Lorraine Gray
Chief Executive
Scottish Social Services Council

Contact information

Lorraine Wakefield
Communications Manager
Scottish Social Services Council