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Towards the end of last week and in line with the new government restrictions that were announced, the SNC were approached by SPS for the resumption of visits in all sites as visit rooms are not deemed as a prisoners home. As a committee we informed the SPS that we had concerns and would require the input from lead medical advisors and Scottish Government before we would support the resumption of visits, with a review of the risk assessments and guidance if CNO and Scottish Government advice supported visits resumption
On Saturday, the SPS received information from the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), that visits can resume at all SPS prisons. The reason for this is that the CNO and Scottish Government are satisfied that SPS have adequate protections across all prison operations and for interface with the public, their tracking records are excellent. Also, that this was to reflect the community in the same way we can meet with another household in a restaurant/pub.
On getting this information the SNC reviewed the risk assessment and associated guidance document and along with the CNO made recommendations for change to tighten an already robust RA these changes were made in their entirety. The main changes are :-
We ask local branch committees to ensure that their local RA is redone to factor in those changes.
At this time of higher rates of infection as a committee we want to again praise the hard work and dedication of you all, in not only attending your work, but the professional way you continue to carry out your duties when natural anxieties exist. The “second wave” was always expected but that does not make dealing with it any easier. We are continuing to represent you at a national level to ensure changes that are being made are done so with your H&S at the forefront of any decision being made and will continue to monitor this issue.
We hope both yourselves and your families remain safe and well at this time.
On behalf of the Scottish National Committee
Assistant General Secretary Scotland
Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.