UNISON | Help us make home care services better

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Over 500,000 adults in the UK rely on homecare workers to get them out of bed, wash them, brush their teeth, help them take their medication and much more. But homecare workers are worried. Councils are allowing care providers to cut corners and the elderly and disabled people that need homecare are not getting the support they should.

Thousands of care workers are deeply concerned about the state of the care sector in the UK, but many are afraid to speak out publicly as they risk losing their jobs. It’s time to listen to them. Save Care Now is a UNISON campaign to raise the voices of homecare workers and improve the homecare sector.

We are calling on councils to sign UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, a set of commitments that together ensure the health, safety, and dignity of the UK’s most vulnerable people.

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As a result, I have been contacted by local residents:

Dear Cllr Paul Bull

I live in your ward and I’m concerned about the treatment of vulnerable people who rely on homecare.

I was helping to care for a disabled man who was confined to a wheelchair. His wife asked if we could just give his back a quick wash before putting him to bed, as he felt much more comfortable then. I was told by the other carer with me that it wasn’t on the task sheet, so we couldn’t – even though we had a bowl of hot water and flannel to wash his hands and face! Despite me asking the office to add this to the task sheet, it never got done.  This was a man who had fought during World War II and we could not even wash his back.”

This is testimony from a homecare worker, and I don’t want this outrageous situation to take place in our area.

I know that some companies that provide care are cutting corners. Care visits are often too short, many care workers are under-trained and (illegally) paid below the minimum wage, and not enough effort is made to ensure vulnerable people see regular carers rather than a succession of strangers.

I want my council to sign up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, a set of commitments that can be implemented over time and will ensure we avoid these problems in our area. Will you support me? If you are in a position to make this happen, please contact UNISON. If you don’t directly commission home care services, I would be grateful if you would pass on my concerns to the person responsible for services in your local area.

The charter is proven to work – several councils have already signed up, and are seeing the benefits. It’s even saving them money as it means less people need to go into care homes.

Please visit http//www.savecarenow.org.uk to find out more.

My response:

Many thanks for contacting me via Unison’s #SaveCareNow campaign and asking me to support homecare workers and improve the homecare sector.

I have already signed up to the campaign and talked to Unison about the fault in their website which directs the e-mails from supporters like yourself to City Councillors rather that to where this sits, the upper tier Devon County Council.

I fully support the comments already outlined by my colleague, Cllr Heather Morris.

I’m not sure if you are aware, early this week I and my Exeter Labour colleagues supported the continuation of the warden services for Exeter’s sheltered accommodation following the withdrawal of funding by DCC.

Happy to talk further

Paul

Cllr Paul Bull
Labour and Cooperative Councillor for Cowick
Member Champion for Community Engagement

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