Teresa is sharing the initial findings of her care worker survey on Dignity Action Day. Dignity Action day in annual opportunity for health and social care workers, along with members of the public, to uphold people’s rights to dignity and respect when using care services.
The objective of Teresa’s survey, launched in December 2013, was to gain a better understanding of the working conditions of care workers, and to determine how these can be improved, for the benefit of both care workers and their clients. Questions focussed on employment rights, support networks, salary, and personal views.
Teresa received responses from across the country. While many respondents were incredibly proud of their jobs and their work, they all expressed concerns about how care workers are treated by society and their poor working conditions.
Most respondents felt undervalued, and remarked that they did not believe they were adequately remunerated. One respondent said that they “would get paid more for cleaning.” Some respondents said that they were on zero-hour contracts. A high percentage of home carers who completed the survey also said they were not paid for travel between clients.
One respondent said they were “short staffed almost every day, and the focus of the management seems to have shifted more towards money than the good of the residents.”Another respondent complained that nothing had been done to address concerns that they had raised. Others hit out at privatisation in the sector, with one respondent claiming “it seems that the residents’ needs are migrating to the bottom of the pile.”
Some notable quotes by respondents:
“The care sector is being destroyed by lack of funding.”
“We work long hours, we work hard, and most of us care and enjoy our chosen jobs. Why is it difficult to reward us with a voice, good training, career progression, less working hours and better pay?”
“Care workers have an enormous amount of responsibility and are constantly under great pressure to do more for less. We continue to do the job because we know the importance of the service we provide and we genuinely care about our residents.”
Following an initial review, Teresa said:
“What is immediately clear from the responses I have received is that care workers feel overworked, undervalued, and underpaid.
We are an ageing population and most of us will at some point need the assistance of homecare services, either for family members or ourselves. It is crucial that care workers are provided with good working conditions, basic employment rights, and proper training. They should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, and more should be done to improve the profile of the job and the status of care workers.
I am calling on the Government on Dignity Action Day to address this issue as a matter of urgency. It is crucial all possible steps are taken to ensure patients’ rights to dignity are upheld at all times. Giving care workers job security will ensure they provide the best possible service for the vulnerable people they assist. After all, what is more important than making sure the best support is available for loved ones when they need it?”
Teresa will now review the results more thoroughly before issuing further comment.