UNISON is today (Tuesday) launching a new report which uses the voices of care workers - and those who rely on care - to lay bare the crisis that has engulfed the sector.
15 Minutes of Shame: Stories from Britain's Homecare Frontline is a compilation of accounts that reveal how poverty pay, zero hour contracts, poor training and rushed visits is having a detrimental impact on vulnerable and elderly care users - many of whom are being put at risk.
The release of the report coincides with a letter from UNISON to the new care minister, Alistair Burt, which highlights the urgent need for the government to address the problems facing the workforce and the people they care for.
During the last parliament, UNISON successfully campaigned for the coalition to begin to address many of the problems facing care workers and denying dignity to care users. In particular, UNISON helped to instigate proactive investigations to clamp down on homecare providers flouting national minimum wage laws.
Commenting on the report, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
"The crisis in our homecare system is a source of national shame. Too many homecare workers and too many people who rely on this vital service are routinely being robbed of their dignity. This report captures so much of what is wrong and inhumane about our homecare system.
"The new Government must listen to the voices of the people at the heart of this crisis. We are urging the new minister to work with us as we continue our vital campaign to save our care system.”
One care worker said: "I have been given 15 minutes to go to into his house, wake him up, assist him to the bathroom, give him a shower, help him dry and get dressed and then make his breakfast and make sure he takes his medication. My organiser has been told this takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Her reply was that other workers can do it in this time."