Asda come to rescue of care home staff after Tesco ban

Pendine Park; Pictured is Care Practitioner Ria Roberts . Picture Mandy Jones

A rival supermarket has
come to the rescue after Tesco banned care home staff from shopping during the
dedicated slots for NHS workers.

Asda contacted the
Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham to say their employees were more than
welcome to come to their store in the town at the allotted times.

The Tesco ban caused a
furious backlash on social media with many calling for a boycott of the
supermarket chain in future.

Lazarus said on Facebook: “I am gutted to hear this .. these wonderful staff
care for my 90 year old mother with dementia at the Pendine Park care home. I
am so upset they have been overlooked like this. Shameful.”

It was a
sentiment echoed by Richie Jones who said: “Well done to Pendine care homes,
put their homes on lockdown and set up contact lines by phone to residents 2
WEEKS before council care homes in order to protect their residents and staff,
every one of whom are a credit to the company. Do the right thing and give
these employees the respect they deserve.”

already allow care home staff to shop at the same time as the NHS but it’s
understood Morrisons have adopted a ban like Tesco

The news
from Asda delighted senior care practitioner Ria Roberts, a 34-year-old single
mum who works at Pendine Park’s Highfield care home.

Delighted care home staff are
slapping their back pockets in thanks to Asda for allowing them to shop there
during special NHS time slots.

Ria says she was left angry and
disgusted at Tesco’s ban.

She said: “It was a disgrace to
see care workers treated differently to NHS colleagues. I love the NHS and
everything they do. And I know Coronavirus has hit the NHS really hard, we all
know that.

“But believe me those working
in the social care sector are going to be right on the frontline too.

“We are caring for some of the
most vulnerable people and we are putting in some very long hours. Knowing I
can access the special NHS time slots at Asda to get shopping in for me and my
child is one thing I have less to worry about.

“Supermarkets are open for
reduced hours now and very often after a long shift we’d have to do without.
Knowing we can now use the NHS and carers time slots at Asda is a massive
weight of our shoulders.

“What Asda are saying is we’ve
got your back and we will be here for you. That’s brilliant, fantastic and I’ll
be telling all my Pendine colleagues.”

She added: “Supermarket staff
are key workers too. They are putting themselves at risk to ensure we can shop.
We are all in this together. There’s a real community spirit in Wrexham which
sadly Tesco isn’t part of.

“Safe to say all my shopping
will be done in Asda from now on and I’ll be telling all my work colleagues
too. We are all pulling together after all and you try telling a care
practitioner who has had a massive stroke or is being vented they aren’t doing
what NHS workers do.

“I know NHS workers, nurses,
doctors and managers appreciate what we do and how important we are when it
comes to helping them by looking after many people who have really complex

Asda Wrexham manager Anita
Cooper e-mailed Pendine Park after seeing social media posts about the shopping
issue and made it clear that care home staff are welcome to shop at Asda during
the dedicated NHS slots.

She said: “All care practitioners
can shop at the same hours as NHS staff. All they need is identification. We
recognise that they are doing an important job and caring for some very
vulnerable people.

“NHS staff and care home staff
can shop between 8am and 9am on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. There are
dedicated till points just for NHS and staff and carers. And on Sunday between
9am and 10am we only allow NHS staff and care staff in store.

“The till operators have purple
T-shirts on so they can be easily identified. We don’t want NHS staff or carers
having to spend too long shopping or stood in queues. What we won’t do is
discriminate between NHS and care sector workers. As far as we are concerned a
care home is no different to a hospital ward.

Pendine Park proprietor Mario
Kreft MBE, who is also the chair of Care Forum Wales, was grateful to Asda.

He said: “It is a very sad
reflection on where Tesco sees the value of frontline social care staff in our

“We have 20000 beds in care
homes in Wales and around 500,000 in the UK which enables the NHS to function
at this most difficult of times.

“Our staff work exceptionally
hard looking after some very vulnerable people. They are saving lives just like
NHS staff. It was a very sad state of affairs but I’m glad to see that Asda
have applied some common sense.

“We have perhaps always known
that the 1.6 million social care workers in the UK are largely seen by society
as second rate to their colleagues in the NHS.

“I love our NHS and will always
support it as I am sure all our care practitioners would but people, including
supermarket bosses, need to remember just what social care workers contribute
to society.

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