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Hornchurch carer blows whistle on bad treatment of staff and poor care of elderly

08:27 27 May 2014

Care worker Mary Bell

Care worker Mary Bell

Archant

A senior care worker has ­revealed the “disgusting” treatment of zero-hour contract staff and the poor quality of care elderly clients receive as a result.

Elderly clients are left waiting due to workers not being able to get to jobs on time. Picture: ShutterstockElderly clients are left waiting due to workers not being able to get to jobs on time. Picture: Shutterstock

Mary Bell, 66, of Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch, has been a care worker for a private sector agency in Havering for 10 years, visiting elderly clients in their homes.

After years of discontent, she has now decided to whistle-blow on the “impossible” expectations imposed on staff, particularly new starters, by companies across the borough, who she claims put profits before clients’ needs.

They include:

■ No time between visits, ­resulting in a lack in quality of care as carers rush from “house to house” and work late

■ Having to administer medication without suitable training or knowledge

■ Earnings of less than minimum wage, as most agencies pay no petrol money and staff have to use their own phone

■ Three to five day induction courses for new starters before being sent to deal with high-need patients – leading to new starters quitting within three months

■ Bullying tactics by agencies due to the zero-hour contracts of the staff, who worry they will not be given more work.

She believes carers are “frightened out of their lives”. “They have got to make it easier for them,” she said.

“They give medication after reading notes, but they don’t know the clients needs.

“Some have to get the bus from Rainham to Collier Row. It’s impossible. There’s no time to do the job properly.

“The poor people are sitting there waiting.

“We used to have to do 23 minute jobs for every half-hour so we had time to get to the next one, but now we don’t.”

Mary was suspended for five months with pay in 2011 over allegations of “failing to follow a reasonable line management instruction not to visit a client” and “crossing professional boundaries by continually contacting social services and local press about concerns” regarding the same client.

Another carer, Linda Seddon, 57, of Romford, claims the situation is the worst it has been in her 35 years in the job.

“When we deal with someone who has dementia we need to take our time,” she said.

“We used to look after patients, we never gave medication.

“Now we do all that. I’d say between five and 10 per cent of people leave within three months.”

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