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Labour MP working at care home claims she was sacked for speaking out on PPE shortages

Nadia Whittome says she was asked 'not to return' by the care home operator (Parliament.UK)

2 min read

A Labour MP who returned to her old job at a care home during the coronavirus pandemic claims she has been sacked for speaking out about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

Nadia Whittome has been working at the Lark Hill retirement village in Nottingham for almost a month, donating her salary to a local Covid-19 relief fund.

But after she appeared on BBC’s Newsnight programme on 24 April she said she was “asked not to return” by Extra Care charitable Trust, which runs the home. 

The 24-year-old MP for Nottingham East, first elected in December, told the Mirror she had been reporting facts about the problems faced by her colleagues in getting hold of the right protective equipment, and had not blamed her employer.

She said: “I am appalled that ExtraCare have chosen this course of action, without following any due process and without me ever having portrayed them negatively in the media.

"I will continue to speak the truth about my frontline experiences and I condemn care companies who try to gag staff for speaking out and raising concerns.”

She added: “I can survive being effectively sacked for speaking out, because I have another income.

"But for so many people in social care - who work a skilled, exhausting and now dangerous job for poverty pay - speaking out is not an option. 

“This is wrong, and dangerous for care home residents and patients.”

Her boss, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, tweeted his support, saying: “Carers, right across our country, are putting their lives on the line for others but they aren’t being provided the Personal Protective Equipment they need. 

“No-one should be sacked for speaking out.”

But a spokeswoman for the ExtraCare Charitable Trust described reports of a shortage of PPE at Lark Hill as “inaccurate”, and accused the MP of scaremongering.

They said: “As a result of rigorous infection control measures which include a full supply of Personal Protective Equipment, we are relieved to report that no deaths have occurred within the Lark Hill community as a result of Covid-19. Our vigilance, care and concern continue.”

They added: “At Lark Hill, we have over three months’ supply of Personal Protective Equipment, including over 25,000 pairs of gloves, 7,700 aprons and nearly 6,000 masks; we have access to further equipment should we need it.

"Reports that we have a PPE shortage are inaccurate and have caused concern amongst our residents; we have had to invest a significant amount of staff time reassuring our residents as a result.

"This has occurred during a critical period when all of our resources have to be focused on protecting our resident’s safety and welfare.”

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