Omar Ramadan has severe haemophilia – a disorder that impairs the body’s ability to control blood clotting – and he cares for his mother who has Alzheimer’s.
Despite all this, he’s a cheerful and positive man, and last week he took the time to travel to an event to deliver a speech to a room full of people.
In the local council building in Tower Hamlets, Omar took to the floor and explained how grateful he is to the homecare workers who visit him and his mum. Before he had his homecare service set up Omar had difficulty with most daily tasks – shopping, personal hygiene, domestic jobs. Doing all these things himself affected his illness and he would often bleed.
Now, because he has homecare workers who support him he bleeds less, and because there are homecare workers who support his mum he can go out to a local day centre where he does mosaic and pottery. Without these homecare workers, Omar says, he would be isolated.
Omar was there to speak at a ceremony celebrating Tower Hamlets council signing up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter. The charter is a set of commitments that ensures dignity for people who need care, and homecare workers; commitments such as making sure homecare workers are paid the living wage, and that homecare visits are longer than 15 minutes.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis attended the event and spoke about the vital work that homecare workers do and why it is so important that they’re treated fairly.
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said he was pleased to be signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter because it “will ensure our care workers are paid properly and treated professionally, helping to provide better quality care for our elderly and vulnerable people.”
Amy Whitelock Gibbs is the local councillor responsible for health and adult services in Tower Hamlets. She said: “We’ve heard from many local home care workers about their concerns and the Charter directly deals with those issues, like being paid for travel time and avoiding zero hours contracts… The Charter is a very positive step for the borough and I’m really proud that we are implementing it.”
Esther Golley is a homecare worker who attended the event. She said she thought the charter would be very helpful and will make a lot of homecare workers feel happier about their job, a job which she loves doing. “The best bits are to help people to be independent and help them, even though they are ill, to help them be part of society.”