NHS 111 staff are coming into work with coronavirus symptoms due to a lack of proper sick pay, whistleblower claims in complaint to MPs
- Staff members working at call centres fear they may catch the virus from offices
- Claimed they were still being forced to work ‘desk to desk’ at some sites
- Communal resources at some centres are only being cleaned twice a day
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
NHS 111 staff working around the clock battling the coronavirus pandemic are coming into work with Covid-19 symptoms due to a lack of adequate sick pay, a whistleblower has claimed.
Staff members working across three call centres in the UK raised concerns regarding health and safety which has come to light in a complaint to MPs.
Thousands of employees are recruited through agencies to work at the centres and one employees complaint has now been published but the commons select committee.
It has been claimed that the workers, who bring in around £9.09 an hour, are unable to live on sick pay and are therefore still going into the office when suffering symptoms.
So far in the UK there have been 8,931 deaths due to the coronavirus and there have been over 65,000 confirmed cases.
NHS 111 call handlers are pictured above. Kate Middleton and Prince William visited the workers last month
WHAT ARE THE CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS?
The virus, called COVID-19, is transmitted from person to person via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes.
It can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles or railings.
Coronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Mild cases can cause cold-like symptoms including a sore throat, headache, fever, cough or trouble breathing.
Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory illness, kidney failure and death.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Public Health England is currently reporting the deaths on a daily basis, today there were 980 new confirmed deaths.
However the figure could actually be many more, as this is just the number of patients that have died in hospitals from the virus over the last 24 hours.
One call handler from the outsourcing firm Teleperformance last night told The Guardian that communal equipment being used at one facility, such as coffee machines, door handles and exit buttons, were actually only being cleaned twice a day.
They also revealed that staff had only been given ‘very very basic’ training on how to handle calls coming in about the coronavirus.
The employee said the Plymouth site was ‘ill-prepared’ for the mass volume of calls that were being put through to them and added that they were ‘terrified’ due to the ‘unsafe’ conditions being employed at the site.
Statutory sick pay (SSP) in the UK is just £96-a-week and the whistleblower said that staff were coming in with symptoms as they could not afford to live off of it.
Across the UK people are being advised to keep their hands clean because of the virus, yet NHS 111 workers have claimed their offices are not being cleaned regularly
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talking with staff, including Chief Executive of the London Ambulance Service, Garrett Emmerson (left) as they visit the London Ambulance Service 111 control room to meet staff who have been taking NHS 111 calls from the public
‘There are lots of people coughing around the call centre who haven’t been self-isolating because there is no guarantee of our jobs being there when we come back… Most of us can’t survive on SSP.’
The company’s chief executive told The Guardian that they were ‘fully compliant’ with the government, but added that there ‘is always room for improvement’.
He said anyone with symptoms was being sent home to self isolate.
Concerns had previously been raised surrounding another outsourcing firm called Sitel.
Labour MP Luke Pollard said he had received complaints from workers claiming that they were still being force to work ‘desk to desk’.
They also said their surroundings were not being ‘deep cleaned’ and people claimed they were scared to go to work as they did not want to catch the virus.
MailOnline has contacted the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care.
MailOnline also approached Sitel and Teleperformance for comment.