Social care system on the verge of collapse, Government warned

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The Government is being urged to tackle a “crisis” in the care system after warnings from workers that the crucial sector is “collapsing”.

A dossier drawn up by Unison revealed illegally low pay rates, widespread use of zero-hours contracts, poor training standards and “damaging consequences” of privatisation.

Homecare workers also questioned the system of 15-minute visits to the sick and elderly, which is often even less if they are delayed by traffic jams.

The union has written to the new Care Minister, Alistair Burt, calling for a meeting to discuss issues ranging from the pay and conditions of care workers to the safety of people who rely on the service.

The report, 15 Minutes Of Shame, details first-hand experiences of care workers in England and Wales, including one who visits a man in his mid-nineties.

“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.”

Another care worker wrote: “Only someone who thought that getting the frail and sick up in the morning was an easy task could have invented the 15-minute call.”

Most of the workers quoted in the report say they do not have enough time to offer proper care, and many reveal they are not paid for the time they spend travelling.