The 'Living with Long Covid' podcast series from Julie Taylor aims to raise awareness of Long Covid, and provide a platform of support, education and the lived experience.
On this episode, Julie speaks to David Osborn, a health and safety consultant. David's specialist area is hazardous substances. He became involved with health and safety concerned with the pandemic in January 2021 in the middle of the second wave. David is currently involved with the Covid public inquiry through being a member of the Covid airborne transmission alliance (CATA).
David and Julie discuss Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and he outlines the difference between respirators (such as FFP3s) and surgical masks. David explains the relevance of this to health and social care workers since they were all told that surgical masks were “Personal Protective Equipment” when in fact they are not, and have never been “PPE”. David also explains how he (and the Alliance) made representations to Government throughout the pandemic that healthcare workers were being put in extreme danger by not being equipped with effective respiratory protection but to no avail. This included a detailed report that he submitted to the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee at the request of the Committee’s Chairman, the Right Hon Jeremy Hunt MP. David describes his disappointment that the MPs in the Select Committee completely ignored his concerns that healthcare workers’ lives were being endangered.
They discuss the lack of RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) reports which employers should have completed for frontline healthcare workers who were infected by the virus. They highlight the blog David wrote for the hub, which includes links to a template letter that can be completed and sent to their employer requesting that they complete a RIDDOR report.
David explains that RIDDOR-reporting is not time-limited and reports can therefore still be made. Even if their employers refuse to submit the RIDDOR report (as most NHS Trusts and Boards have done throughout the pandemic – and may continue to do) it could nevertheless be very helpful to healthcare workers living with Long Covid should they become eligible for any future State support scheme such as the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. A letter to their employers confirming the circumstances of their infection(s) and how, when and where they were exposed to the disease would be relevant evidence in the event they need to submit a claim for the benefit.
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