As you will be aware staff testing has been rolled out across the whole estate and available in each prison for those who wish to volunteer to be tested.

There is a Staff Testing sub-group that the SNC have representatives on, and it has been responsible for the roll out of testing as well as reviewing the data and findings from those involved in testing.

The introduction of testing is an important step and is designed with several key objectives in mind.

  • It is designed to help protect you, your family, your friends, and colleagues.
  • Self-testing is part of the Scottish governments Test and Protect strategy designed to help in saving lives.
  • The data collected is invaluable to the SPS and health professionals in decision making around safety and service delivery.

With the return of staff from shielding back into the workplace there is a further need to keep a close track on levels within our prisons, and the latest SAGE report (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) (UK Gov) still identifies prisons as a high-risk environment for the increased risk of spread. As a trade union we have written to the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, citing the SAGE report, and asking that Scottish government look again at introducing service wide vaccinations for all staff and prisoners here in Scotland.

We would encourage staff to take up the opportunity and volunteer for the testing available in the workplace, which in turn will allow us all to better understand what the numbers are within the prisons, and then use that information to direct discussions both with the employer, and with Scottish government.

On behalf of POA Scotland

Assistant General Secretary

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.