Another vital Milton Keynes service is hit by 'pingdemic' chaos

This time it's disabled people and carers who are affected

By Sally Murrer
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:05 pm

Milton Keynes Council has been forced to suspend its short breaks service for disabled people after nine staff members were forced to self-isolate through test and trace.

The news follows the announcement yesterday that over a dozen staff at waste contractors Serco had been forced to self-isolate.

This will affect waste collection services all over MK.

People all over MK are being 'pinged' by the test and trace app

The council-run Short Breaks Service, based in Mathiesen Road, Bradville, is available to adults with learning disabilities who have the highest and most complex needs. It provides day support, weekend and overnight stays which also offer respite for carers.

The loss of nine staff members means the service is temporarily unable to run at all until the self isolation period is over.

Nationally more than 1.7m people were isolating last week and the number of Covid cases is continuing to rise, with almost 40,000 new cases announced yesterday.

A local Labour spokesman said: "Yet in the middle of the largest rise in cases since last December, Boris Johnson yesterday lifted many restrictions in England against advice from many independent scientists.

"The Prime Minister who was forced himself to self-isolate on “Freedom Day,” after initially stating he wouldn’t do so, has also been forced to clarify that people who get a notification from NHS Test and Trace are required to self-isolate after a junior government minister appeared to suggest that it was optional."

Instead of being called “Freedom Day,” many are now calling yesterday “Mayhem Monday,” with the problems continuing into today. Senior councillors are warning the situation will only get worse.

Cllr Emily Darlington, MK Cabinet member for adult services said: “Unfortunately, due to staff isolating because to the pingdemic the council is unable to provide our short breaks service at present.”

She added: “Not being able to provide these services is heart-breaking. Carers are at breaking point after months of isolation during the first waves of the pandemic and these vital services provided by the Council are a welcome and essential break after the hardest year.

"We are doing all we can to ensure we are running as many services as possible, but the chaos created by this government’s politically motivated “Freedom Day,” is real and it impacts the most vulnerable.

“Government ministers don’t even know the rules and the Prime Minister didn’t even want to stick by them. The risk is that people will simply give up and lose confidence in the system, ignore self-isolation or even delete the NHS app, but that will only make things worse. The situation is a shambles."