FRONTLINE staff working in Scotland’s private care homes are “terrified” to be tested for Covid-19 amid fears they will not be paid if they are forced to self-isolate, union bosses have warned. 

The warning comes after it emerged care home workers who test positive may have to complete their shift before going home if there are staff shortages. 

Last week, trade unions raised worrying concerns that some low-paid staff feel pressured into turning up to work in care homes because they cannot afford not to.   

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Positive care home workers may have to complete shifts amid staff shortages

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, the GMB's Scotland secretary Gary Smith called on the Scottish Government to step in and offer care staff forced to self-isolate a package of support. 

Mr Smith said there is a "scandal" brewing in private Scottish care homes over the rewards carers receive. 

The union leader said there are no measures in place to financially support those care staff who need to self-isolate. 

He said: "These people do professional work for under £10 an hour. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Politicians and facility bosses say Scottish Government must follow rest of the UK in care home testing

"Immediately - this week - the Scottish Government should end the scandal of the fact that workers in care who test positive, and many of them do, are left in poverty if they're off work as a result of testing positive." 

He added: "We have workers in the private sector that are terrified to get tested positive because if they're put off their work they're living on subsistence levels of money - they're on statutory sick pay. 

"At least in the public sector, workers aren't well paid but if they're put off their work their families are not going to starve. 

"It's a scandal that care workers are terrified to be tested. We have to immediately address this scandal." 

Mr Smith also said the Scottish Government is "fiddling while the care home sector burns", pointing to new measures announced on Sunday to increase oversight of the industry. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Loss of smell or taste added to NHS Covid-19 symptoms list

According to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, public bodies will have powers to intervene if there is a "significant risk" to care home residents, if amendments to the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill are passed this week. 

Mr Smith said the new regulations are the "right thing to do" but were proposed "too late". 

He said: "My concern is that the Scottish Government are constantly reacting, rather than planning as we go through this crisis. 

"It's the right move, it comes late, but it's not going to deal with the underlying crisis that we've got within care." 

Mr Smith repeatedly said there should be a national care plan put in place, involving both the public and private care sectors."