‘Proper training is key to ease pressure on A&E’ says care worker

Care worker Mary Bell

Care worker Mary Bell - Credit: Archant

A senior care worker believes “proper training” for staff will stop elderly patients filling hospital beds.

Mary Bell, 66, is unhappy with the lack of focus on her profession in the election manifestos, and says it should be at the “forefront” of politicians’ thinking.

Speaking to the Recorder last year, Mary, of Horncurch Road, Hornchurch, revealed the “disgusting” treatment of zero-hour contract staff and the poor quality of care elderly clients receive as a result.

The private sector worker of 11 years said the situation is now“even worse”.

“The training is disgraceful,” she said. “I feel embarrassed. You see people falling asleep on the courses – which are a formality.

“Until we get properly trained nursing carers who can recognise signs and problems hospital beds are going to be full.

“Patients are hospitalised because they don’t get their medication at the right times, or carers don’t know what’s wrong.”

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When Parliament returns she intends to circulate a petition in the hope of gaining the 250,000 signatures needed for a House of Commons debate.

She has previously met with Norman Lamb, care and support minister, who has said “if providers treat staff well, standards of care will go up.”

He believes “appallingly high staff turnover” in an area where people need the “most intimate and personal care” must stop.

Mary also believes zero-hour contracts are to blame. “I see different girls all the time,” she said. “There’s such a high turnover. It’s a false economy – the government say they’ve got all these people into work but they haven’t. People come off the dole and into a job where they get no hours.

She has also called for higher salaries for care workers, in line with teachers and nurses.

A Havering Council spokeswoman said it expects “highest standards” from agencies. They must register with the Care Quality Commission, which regularly inspects services’ training methods.