‘Rescue our care from sharks and thieves’

“It is impossible for people to live the sort of life we want them to live with just 15 minutes of care,” said retired member David Kippest, debating the care of older people at the union’s national delegate conference in Glasgow this morning.

Mr Kippest was referring to the union’s report ‘15 minutes of shame’ which revealed carers were being allowed no more than 15 minutes to spend with each client.

He quoted health minister Jeremy Hunt, who has said his biggest priority is to ‘transform care out of hospital’. But while agreeing with the minister, Mr Hunt asked: “How are you going to do it with 15 minutes a day?”

Mark Evans from Carmarthaenshire county deplored the treatment of older people in the UK, which he called “a damning indictment of a system run to line the pockets of the 1%.”

He also warned that even a joined-up health and social care system, such as the union is calling for nationally, had not prevented cuts in his area.

Deirdre Costigan for the LGBT group also warned that if integration of health and social care was done badly it would have a negative impact on LGBT workers and service users. Levelling down across the services would “inevitably lead” to loss of hard-won equality rights and provisions. Some personal assistants are now afraid to come out to their employer, she said, and LGBT people who need care may fear they cannot be open about who they are.

Mitsy Harmon Russell, a support worker for elderly people, reported seeing at first hand her “clients suffering, caught in the middle of social services and health care.” She said we needed integration to level up terms and conditions for carers and to improve the care they provided. “We must rescue our sector from the sharks and the thieves taking from workers and clients,” she said.

Delegates agreed to campaign for quality care without exploitation of carers, promoting the union’s Save Care Now campaign.