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THERE are calls for more to be done to protect care home staff in Renfrewshire amid concerns over a lack of suitable equipment to keep coronavirus at bay.

Trade union officials have warned there is a “critical lack” of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those employed at care homes, as well as staff who care for vulnerable residents in the community.

That warning comes after a number of residents at local care homes died of suspected coronavirus.

Earlier this week, the owners of Mosswood Care Home, in Linwood, confirmed three residents there have died and a member of staff has tested positive for Covid-19.

At least 11 residents at Elderslie Care Home, in Paisley, have also lost their lives to suspected coronavirus in recent weeks.

Councillor Jim Sheridan, who represents Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, is among those to raise concerns about the dangers being faced by care home staff.

He told The Gazette: “I know a number of people who work in care homes and I try to put myself in their shoes.

“They are not being supported enough and don’t have the right provisions, which is unforgivable.

“We wouldn’t send our army into battle without the right equipment, so why are we doing the same to our carers?”

Councillor Sheridan’s concern has been mirrored by social care bosses and union leaders, who want the government to do more.

A statement signed by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Unison, Unite, GMB and TUC warns that residents and workers are exposed to unnecessary risk, with insufficient supplies of PPE and a lack of Covid-19 testing “almost certainly” meaning the virus has had more serious consequences than currently known.

It adds: “People who rely on social care are often more vulnerable to catching and dying from Covid-19, yet a month into this crisis many care workers are still working without suitable PPE, despite their heightened risk of exposure to the virus and to spreading it.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has defended the Scottish Government’s approach to PPE for care workers.

She said: “This is a government that is reacting to issues and concerns as they arise.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond