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RCN says guidance is confused for 'shielding' nurses

By Alistair Whitfield

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The Royal College of Nursing has claimed that confused guidance could leave some staff in the independent sector exposed to Covid-19.

Dame Donna Kinnair
Dame Donna Kinnair

People with a variety of health conditions, including severe asthma, have been advised to shield themselves for 12 weeks.

Guidance from HM Revenue & Customs indicates that employers can place nursing staff who are shielding on ‘furlough’ and claim support for 80 per cent of their salary.

However, contradictory guidance from the Treasury suggests shielding staff are only entitled to statutory sick pay of around £95 per week for the 12 weeks.

The Royal College of Nursing fears that nursing staff with underlying health conditions could ignore medical advice and return to work because of financial difficulties.

Its chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair has now written to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to clarify the situation.

She said: "All nursing staff, no matter where they work, should receive full pay if they become sick, need to self-isolate or shield throughout the pandemic.

"The Chancellor must clarify that the furlough scheme extends to care home workers who are shielding.

"When the guidance isn’t clear, it is hard-working nursing staff who suffer.

"We expect all health and care employers to provide full pay for staff who have to be off work due to COVID-19 sickness, self-isolation or shielding."

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