March 9 2014 Latest news:
Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Thursday, January 31, 2013
A pair of campaigning carers have taken their complaints to Whitehall.
Linda Seddon and Mary Bell, from Romford, met care minister Norman Lamb on Tuesday, to tell him about how they believe care in the community has changed for the worse.
After the meeting Linda said: “We waited three years to have the meeting as we are very concerned about what’s going on in the industry.”
The 56-year-old has just left her job of 13 years, working for a company employed by the council to provide care.
She said: “We know many other carers are worried about the cutbacks and changes that have taken place, but we are speaking out.
“We’ve tried to speak to Havering Council, councillors Michael White and Steven Kelly, about it, but to no avail.
“I’m sure if people knew the truth about care they would be shocked.”
Among the many issues which the pair believe jeopardise care in the community are:
- a lack of training for new carers meaning existing carers have to train new ones on the job
- poor morale and pay.
- Havering Council’s recent policy change which means carers no longer get paid between jobs.
- The removal of marked medical dispensers - meaning that it’s hard to know how much medication those being cared for are taking, when care is not a medical job.
She said the pair have tried to raise the issues with Havering Council but doesn’t feel she has been taken seriously.
Andrew Rosindell MP, who organised the meeting, said: “I share the concerns of Linda and Mary, and the minister was grateful to them for sharing their experiences and he was taking seriously the points they’re making.
“I think that the system is not working properly and they need to be listened to.
“If companies or local authorities are not doing their job properly the duty of care should be removed from their control.”
Cllr Steven Kelly, Havering Council’s cabinet member for individuals, said: “This is why we base our contracts on quality, not cost. Although low pay in home care is an issue across the country, this highlights our commitment to this vital service for some of Havering’s most vulnerable residents.
“We are determined to ensure we have a safe and sustainable home care system in the borough. Any issues that staff may have should be raised with their line managers in the company that they work for.”