Category Archives: Carers

Carers are being pushed further into exhaustion, poverty and despair by government neglect, survey says

I once stated that we thought this window-writing was by a child in care, but it could also have been drawn by an adult recipient of care – or it might have been by a carer instead.

Government neglect is pushing unpaid family carers into poverty and leaving many exhausted and fearful of the future, according to a survey from the Carers Trust.

The charity found that the majority of unpaid carers feel they are not getting enough support from the social care system, with only 12 per cent saying the support they receive is adequate to meet their needs:

Almost two thirds of unpaid carers taking part in the survey (64%) said they do not receive enough support. A further 24% responded that they weren’t sure whether they got enough support. Only 12% of respondents agreed that they were getting enough support from the social care system.

The survey also points at Government cuts to local authority funding as one of the main reasons as to why unpaid cares aren’t receiving enough help and support. According to the survey, almost two thirds of unpaid carers (64%) are now spending 50 hours or more per week caring for a family relative.

Carers Trust says this suggests that in just nine years the proportion of unpaid carers providing 50 hours’ care or more per week has almost tripled since the 2011 Census (23%).

This Writer was an unpaid carer for years, until This Site started to offer me a better living.

It is work that takes up as much time as a person can devote to it – and is often thankless, as the person who needs the care often has their own pain to accommodate and may be inconsiderate as a result.

This can lead to difficult decisions between earning and caring – and in many cases to mental illness as the pressures affect carers.

How typical of Tories that they are worsening these pressures.

Source: Government ‘neglect’ pushing unpaid carers into poverty, exhaustion and total despair

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New lockdown guidance for care home visits is likened to ‘prison systems’

Worse than a prison visit: new guidance for visiting relatives in care homes could put them behind glass, in order to conform with social distancing rules.

What was This Writer saying yesterday about the current UK government’s similarity to the fascist state in V for Vendetta – providing “security but not freedom”?

Here’s proof of it:

New guidance for visits to care homes demands the following:

  • Residents should each be limited to only a “single constant visitor” or an absolute maximum of two, with appropriate PPE used at all times.
  • Care homes should designate “visiting pods” – rooms directly accessible from outdoors, so that visits can take place at windows. It seems the idea is to have the visitors outside the building and the residents within. A bit chilly in the winter!
  • Worse still, the guidance says visits should happen in the open air – outdoors – whenever possible, possibly under an awning, gazebo, open-sided marquee. It recognises that this will not be appropriate for many residents and visitors in the winter.
  • Social distancing rules must be followed at all times.
  • Spaces designated for visits may be used by only one visiting family member and one resident at any time.
  • All visits must be booked in advance.

In the event of an outbreak at a residence, all visits must be stopped until infection is brought under control – except in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life visits.

The guidelines have been condemned by charities and care home providers.

Erica Lockhart, the CEO of Surrey Care Association, said

The guidance, which outlines measures likened to prison visitation systems, suggests floor to ceiling screens, and whilst I can understand the government’s suggestion they haven’t fully understood the impact this will have on residents and loved ones.

Kate Lee, the chief executive officer at Alzheimer’s Society, expanded on this:

Some of the suggested options… have the potential to cause distress to people with dementia, particularly those in the later stages.

During the four months of the first lockdown, we saw an unexpected rise in dementia deaths in care homes that were not coronavirus related – we believe these 5,000 additional deaths could be as a result of disruptions to a threadbare social care system, and prolonged social isolation, causing dementia symptoms to rapidly deteriorate.

Source: Coronavirus: New lockdown care home visit guidance in England likened to ‘prison systems’ | The Independent

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Arrogant Dorries rejects cross-party talks to help mental health of NHS & care staff – EIGHT TIMES

Nadine Dorries: Wrong again.

The health minister who is so stupid she said the November lockdown in England could only have been predicted with a crystal ball has struck again.

There’s a reason we call Nadine Dorries “Mad Nad”.

Over the weekend, the woman widely considered to be the stupidist Tory MP – against stiff competition! – admitted that she did not understand the information being received and used by her own department of government; SAGE had demanded a lockdown in September.

Now she has demonstrated that she does not understand that her government’s failure to get to grips with the Covid crisis in any meaningful way over a period of nearly a year is having a devastating effect on the mental health of people working in the NHS and in the care sector.

Labour MP Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan does – and appealed to Dorries no fewer than eight times to join with her in devising a mental health package that has cross-party support. Dorries rejected it in a manner that belittled not only herself but her entire miserable government:

Condemnation has rained down on Dorries from all sides:

It won’t have any effect, though.

I say that not because the Johnson government has a huge Parliamentary majority – granted to it by a population that was desperate to resolve the Brexit crisis that the Tories had created and gulled by rabidly right-wing mass media into thinking the Tories were the only party that could provide a solution (which is lunacy, if you think about it for just one moment).

The reason condemnation won’t work on Tories like Dorries can be summed up in a simple, well-known saying:

No sense, no feeling.

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#LevellingUp or #ToryCorruption ? Serco-employed test and trace managers take £1.5m per year

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he refers to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people will blame the nationalised health service that has nothing to do with it.

The Serco Test and Trace scandal gets worse and worse; it has just been revealed that some employees receive £7,360 per day to pretend to find people with Covid-19 and trace their contacts.

That’s the equivalent of £1.5 million a year. These are people from companies with strong connections to the Conservative government, that won their contracts via an emergency system which avoids the normal tendering process.

And it has already been established that most contact tracing personnel spend their time playing computer games because they are not being given work to do.

City AM says,

Sky, citing leaked documents, reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has paid BCG around £10m. That was for a team of 40 consultants to work for four months on test and trace.

BCG’s “day rates” for public sector work – which determine the cost of its service – range from £2,400 to £7,360 for its most senior employees.

The report said BCG is giving the government a 10 to 15 per cent discount. Although this would still equate to day rates equivalent to around £1.5m a year.

BCG declined to comment.

Sky also said that 165 more consultants had been hired to work on test and trace. They include 84 from Deloitte, 31 from EY and 50 from KPMG.

So much for Boris Johnson’s claim that he was “levelling up” the UK. Tory friends are being paid millions in public money while those who desperately need it are being starved.

While ministerial salaries are being frozen, all MPs are getting a pay rise of £3,300 per year – equivalent to around two-thirds of the current annual rate of Universal Credit for an adult aged over 25.

The lowest MP salary will be £85,291 per year. Compare that with nurses on £24,000. Who does the more important job?

What about care workers, who receive an excruciatingly-low £18,553 per year. Who does the more important job?

The Durham-based family of Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings have been excused from paying £30,000 in backdated council tax on houses they built without planning permission 18 years ago – while child poverty in the Durham North constituency has rocketed by nine per cent – to total one-third of all children living there – in the last four years… after housing costs were taken into account,

The social media are seething with discontent:

I think the following three tweets put the current situation in a nutshell, using the current northern lockdown as an example of Tory corruption at its worst. First, let’s set the scene:

Now we can go into details with this excellent speech by Labour MP Dan Carden:

Lastly, let’s remember that there was an alternative – but people were steered away from it by liars in the mainstream media who shilled for the corrupt Tories instead. Now what, do you think, encouraged them to do that?

Source: Government paying test and trace consultants equivalent of £1.5m salary : CityAM

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Care workers awarded £100,000 in back pay – but why is their NEW employer paying it?

How pleasant to see home carers being awarded the pay they are due!

In a court victory, home care workers contracted by Haringey Council in North London were awarded £100,000 in back pay.

That’s between them, not individually – amounting to around £10,000 for each of the 10 claimants.

It seems the council had given the work contract to a private provider called Sevacare that cheated them out of money they should have been paid for travel time between patient visits.

As a result, some of them ended up being paid less than £4 per hour – less than the minimum wage, and much less than even the “National Living Wage” that the Tories introduced, which still doesn’t cover living expenses.

Care service companies, Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited and Premier Carewaiting Limited say they inherited the case when they took over the work contract.

The firms who took over the contracts were ordered to pay the claimants.

Wait – what?

Why were the new providers ordered to pay? Why couldn’t the offending firm do it?

Has it gone out of business? Government contractors seem to do that, don’t they? Does anybody remember Carillion?

Mrs Mike was completely unimpressed by this story.

She reckons the problem is the sub-contracting of care work by councils to private providers, who always say they can do the work for a very low price.

Then the bosses and shareholders take their cut (Mrs Mike said), and the people who do the actual work end up with whatever’s left – the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

It’s a consequence of privatisation, she said. It was better when councils employed care workers directly.

Given this result, I’d say she makes a good point. Wouldn’t you?

Source: Unison: Care workers who made £4 an hour awarded in £100,000 court case – BBC News

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What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

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One in eight childcare workers in England earns much less than the minimum wage

We thought this window-writing was by a child in care. It seems it might have been by a carer instead.

This research shows all the hallmarks of Tory employment policy: early years workers – predominantly female – are considered to be of low worth and paid less than the minimum wage, and have few career options – and the Covid crisis is likely to make matters worse.

It’s Conservative policy, remember: they have victimised women since they got back into office in 2010, with the so-called austerity policies attacking women far more than men.

One in eight childcare workers in England earn less than £5 an hour, according to new research which warns that low pay, high workload and a lack of career development are having an adverse effect on the sector.

The Social Mobility Commission (SMC) report says… as many as 13% of childcare workers are paid under £5 an hour.

The workforce included apprentices, students on placement, volunteers as well as childminders, hence the low hourly rates.

Staff turnover is high at 13%, with one in six leaving their posts within a year, and 37% quitting within two years.

The report also highlights a lack of training opportunities for those who enter the workforce, which is 96% female, with just 17% of early years workers in receipt of job-related training.

Workload is high and the job carries considerable responsibility – more than one in 10 (11%) full-time early years workers reported working more than 42 hours per week, compared to 3% of retail workers.

It’s cognitive dissonance; the job is clearly highly-responsible and stressful, yet the remuneration is pitiful and there are no associated benefits.

Does this not indicate a political decision by the Tories?

That party’s notorious “nudge unit” has long been tasked with pushing people into particular decisions by making the alternative unacceptable.

Apparently they don’t want children to have professional care while we go to work.

Clearly we’ll all have to stay at home instead – or stop having children so we can go to work.

But if we stay home, what will happen to the economy?

And if we stop having children, well, there aren’t enough people working in the economy to support the current number of senior citizens, and that will only get worse if the working population diminishes – as it must in that eventuality.

So it seems that, by allowing childcare workers to be treated so badly, the Tories are deliberately trying to trash the UK economy.

And some of us voted them into office with a landslide in order to do that.

Were these voters ill, or insane, or suffering mass hysteria?

Source: One in eight childcare workers in England earn less than £5 an hour | Childcare | The Guardian

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Tory attitude to disability: ‘You want carers? You pay for their Covid-19 protective kit!’

Contagion: by denying people with disabilities easy access to PPE, the Tory government is making them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Typical Tories – ill-mannered as ever toward the people they consider “useless eaters”.

Read the following and remember that it could be you the Tories are treating so carelessly:

The family of a disabled man say they have been “completely forgotten about” after they were told to source protective equipment for his NHS-funded carers themselves – despite inflated prices and quality concerns.

Cameron Harrison, 24, has adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a genetic illness which means he requires around-the-clock care.

Mr Harrison, who lives in Hitchin with his family, is blind, has limited hearing, is unable to speak, uses a wheelchair and is tube-fed.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Mr Harrison had three carers who would visit each day, in addition to attending a sensory college run by disability charity Sense during the week and residential care for 60 days a year.

His mother Karen, 50… who works for the Leukodystrophy Charity – which helps families with conditions like her son’s, said only two carers were now able to help and all other support had stopped.

The 24-year-old’s carers are paid for through a personal health budget provided by NHS Continuing Healthcare.

In March, Mrs Harrison contacted the NHS to ask about personal protective equipment (PPE) for the carers.

Mrs Harrison said: “They said you could use your personal health budget to actually pay for the PPE but they weren’t helping at all to source the PPE.

“They said they weren’t delivering and gave me the Government website which kind of explained what PPE was, but it was more for people in care homes or care agencies.”

She added: “I just feel like we’ve been completely forgotten about, we’re a group of people who are just being left to muddle through.

“They’ve sidelined us. Care agencies are big business, care homes are big business and people all know about them, but we’re a little voice.”

I think it is possible to put the situation a different way:

Care agencies get national publicity, care homes get national publicity, but individuals don’t have that kind of voice.

So the Tories can take this opportunity to … nudge … them away from decent healthcare – by depriving them of proper PPE and forcing them to fritter away their care budget on it.

The intention seems clear: to cause hardship; if possible, to create a “positive benefit outcome”.

And you know what that means.

Source: ‘Forgotten about’ disabled man’s family told to source own PPE for carers

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Scottish boosts for carers make those in the rest of the UK look second-class 

Care: the Tories don’t.

The Scottish Parliament has announced another boost for carers – this time those who work unpaid apart from receiving the government allowance.

It’s only a fortnight since the UK government refused to give people employed as carers the real living wage – as opposed to the fake ‘national’ living wage the Conservatives mocked up a few years ago.

Carers employed in Scotland already receive the real living wage and are therefore £1.09 per hour better-off than those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Now, the SNP-run Scottish Parliament has announced a one-off Carers’ Allowance top-up of £230.10 in June, to be paid in recognition of the extra pressures unpaid carers are facing because of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

And Scottish carers already receive a supplement of £230.10, twice a year.

The top-up announcement means they will receive £690.30 more than their counterparts in the other UK countries this year.

It establishes a two-tier pay pattern for carers in the UK, with those in Scotland automatically better-off than the others, who are therefore now second-class.

Carers in the rest of the UK are already agitating for the national government in London to even up the balance:

Chief Executive of Carers UK Helen Walker said: “The UK Government needs to do its part to ensure the rest of the UK’s unpaid carers receiving Carer’s Allowance – and providing upwards of 35 hours of care a week – also receive a coronavirus supplement.

“This is imperative to show carers that the Government recognises the additional financial costs that they are facing at this time.

“Caring Behind Closed Doors, our research into carers’ experiences during lockdown, showed 81 per cent of unpaid carers had extra financial costs as a result of the crisis.

“At the same time, unpaid carers are under extra pressure, providing more care and not getting breaks.”

This Writer used to be a carer, of course. I received Carers’ Allowance for many years and only gave it up because my earnings from Vox Political meant I was no longer eligible for it.

I still do the work, of course – and if I was still receiving the allowance, I would be furious that the UK government is saying – even if only by default – that my work is less valuable because I don’t live in Scotland; that caring is as much a postcode lottery as the Tories have made healthcare.

Some might argue that it is unfair for Scotland to put the UK’s Tory government in this position – and it’s a reasonable argument.

But if Scotland can afford it, then there’s no reason the much richer, national government can’t. It’s just a matter of priorities.

Source: Coronavirus: Scottish unpaid carers set to receive £230 one-off Carer’s Allowance top-up – Welfare Weekly

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Coronavirus: Unpaid carers are working harder but ‘completely ignored’ by government

Care: the Tories don’t.

Family members who provide care for loved ones with only Carers’ Allowance as financial support are claiming that the coronavirus has “overwhelmed” them but the government is ignoring them.

It’s absolutely no surprise to This Writer. I gave up my claim for Carers Allowance last year, after my income from Vox Political finally exceeded the amount you’re allowed to earn per week (which isn’t much at all).

How anyone can survive on £67.25 a week alone is beyond me.

For myself, the stress of being a carer and writing a website every day is huge, but the fact is that I make just about enough money to cushion the worst effects.

That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how hard it is on my fellow carers (because remember, I haven’t given up minding Mrs Mike). So it’s heartbreaking to read the following:

New research published today by Carers UK reveals how 70% of unpaid carers in the UK are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The survey of nearly 5,000 unpaid carers showed that, on average, carers are picking up an additional 10 hours of unpaid care per week.

A third of these (35%) are having to provide more hours of care because their local care and support services have been reduced or closed.

More than half (55%) told Carers UK that they feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities during the outbreak and are worried about burning out in the coming weeks.

The survey also found that 87% of family carers are worried about what will happen to the people they care for if they have to self-isolate or become ill.

The research shows 81% of carers are having to spend more money during the outbreak. The top increases in expenditure include spending more on food (72%) – due to lack of supermarket delivery slots and need for specialist food – and household bills (50%).

Worryingly, 1 in 10 claim to be spending more on equipment for the person they care for.

It’s very expensive indeed – in terms of finance and personal, emotional energy.

Carers UK is urging the Tory government to increase Carer’s Allowance, to recognise the crucial role people are playing in the country’s fight back against coronavirus – but I don’t think anything will come of it.

The Tories know they’re onto a good thing – 6.5 million people providing billions of pounds worth of care services for less than the minimum wage because they are doing it for family members.

You could say it’s the worst kind of emotional blackmail. There’s no social care service, and you can be sure that there won’t be in the future – the Tories will plead that the cost of getting the economy back up and running is prohibitive. So they – we – feel constained to do it ourselves.

Think of that when the Tories say they’re doing everything they can.

Source: Unpaid family carers ‘feel completely ignored’ by Government amid the Coronavirus pandemic – Welfare Weekly

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