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.
Pay and conditions for care workers are so bad that the sector has extremely high turnover – according to a government report 30% of staff leave each year. The UK’s own National Audit Office has reported that 220,000 care workers are routinely being illegally paid below the national minimum wage. This happens because they are often not paid for travel time (which there is a lot of between visits) and many have to pay for their own required uniforms and training. The widespread use of zero hours contracts for homecare workers makes this situation even worse, and it is especially damaging for the growing number of people suffering from dementia who receive homecare.
Care workers carry out many tasks that are similar to nurses, supporting people at their most vulnerable moments. Yet many homecare workers feel they are not adequately trained to carry out a lot of the tasks expected of them, and that this is detrimental to the people they care for.
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.