Professional Visitor Launch statement – BASW England and Cymru
BASW England in partnership with BASW Cymru is launching a campaign for social workers to be recognised as Professional Visitors.
This initiative is in response to the restrictions on visiting and access applied across care and health settings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the months have progressed blanket restrictions on visits have been introduced, with social workers being denied access to people and settings. This is happening in areas across England with different levels of alert ranging from medium, high and very high, whilst in Wales, a series of ‘local lockdowns’ has been followed by a full 17-day Coronavirus firebreak.
Our campaign focuses on enabling safe access through the provision of regular testing. Social workers are listed as essential workers in both England and Wales for the purpose of testing: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#list-of-essential-workers-and-those-prioritised-for-testing-england-only; https://gov.wales/test-trace-protect-html
However, testing is currently only available if the social worker has symptoms, not as part of a testing regime: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#list-of-essential-workers-and-those-prioritised-for-testing-england-only;
Regular testing would offer care settings assurance about providing access to the setting. We are advocating for regular testing to be in place for safe access to then be enabled for social workers so that they can see those people face to face that require this type and level of social work input.
Situations that prevent access to the outside world, or the outside world from coming in, constitute Closed Cultures. Without access to care and health settings, social workers are struggling to carry out mental capacity assessments or weigh in the balance what is in a person’s best interests, necessary and proportionate and the least restrictive option. There is a heavy reliance on third party or incomplete information to inform professional judgements which raises ethical dilemmas and challenges.
BASW recognises the value and importance of working in partnership with families, friends and Carers and is aligned with organisations that are actively advocating for their safe access to care settings. The failure to define the important therapeutic impact that visiting can have diminishes the impact that visiting, or the suspension of visiting, may have upon individuals and families.
Join our campaign: Test, Safe Access, Promote Rights
Test - Designated Social Worker Professional Visitors must be tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis and have negative test results prior to visiting someone in a health or care setting and supported living.
Safe Access - Social Workers must be given priority access to people in care, health and supported living settings through testing, rigorous infection control, access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Promote Rights - As a profession our fundamental core values are built upon social justice and the promotion of human rights. Our regulatory professional standards state: Promote the rights, strengths and wellbeing of people, families and communities (overarching standard one) https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/standards/professional-standards/
Join our campaign to ensure social workers can respond to the human rights challenges of Covid 19 and promote the wellbeing of people and families affected by blanket restrictions as we approach the winter months.