Home car­ers claim they feel ‘un­safe’

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY CA­TRI­ONA STE­WART

STAFF tend­ing to Glas­gow’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents claim their work is mak­ing them feel un­safe. GMB Scot­land said a sur­vey of its 1600 home carer mem­bers say 96 per cent of care work­ers in the city had felt un­safe while work­ing shifts at night.

Some 55 per cent said they would not know what to do if an in­ci­dent oc­curred while work­ing alone in the hours of dark­ness with 79 per cent say­ing they are not con­fi­dent there is the right sup­port avail­able to them when work­ing alone.

Glas­gow City Coun­cil, how­ever, said the safety of its staff is “of para­mount im­por­tance”.

But GMB Scot­land Or­gan­iser Rhea Wolf­son, inset, said: “Many of our home care mem­bers work “on foot” and alone be­yond 10pm at night, tend­ing to the needs of their clients all year round and in all con­di­tions.

“It’s a mod­est ask of the coun­cil to make sure that when home car­ers are look­ing af­ter some of our city’s most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens in the evening, those staff feel safe them­selves.

“The alarm­ing re­sults of this sur­vey de­mand ur­gent ac­tion from the Coun­cil, and we’ll be writ­ing to elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives ask­ing them to sup­port our call to make our home care work­ers safe at night.”

GMB bosses said they con­ducted the sur­vey fol­low­ing re­ports from mem­bers that they felt in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble on the job.

The sur­vey shows that of those who had re­ported an in­ci­dent that had taken place while lone work­ing, just 13 per cent felt it was han­dled well and dealt with ap­pro­pri­ately. Some 54 per cent said that work­ing alone in hours of dark­ness is hav­ing an im­pact on their health, in­clud­ing their men­tal health. The union has pro­posed a range of mea­sures to ad­dress the con­cerns of the work­force, and have launched their “Safe at Night” cam­paign, call­ing for:

• Dual work­ing ar­range­ments for on foot car­ers dur­ing ‘out of hours’ ser­vice.

• A pool car to re­turn car­ers to a di­rect trans­port route home at the end of each shift.

• In­creased home care co­or­di­na­tor re­source dur­ing ‘out of hours’ for staff safety. A Glas­gow City Coun­cil spokes­woman said: “The safety of our staff is of para­mount im­por­tance and once again the de­tails of this sur­vey has not, un­til passed on by the me­dia, been shared with homecare se­nior management.

“More than 72 per cent of our homecare staff live in the streets and the com­mu­ni­ties that they work and we have a range of poli­cies and train­ing in place to en­sure that lone work­ers feel safe in their work­ing en­vi­ron­ment – this in­cludes a mo­bile phone and con­tact with a co-or­di­na­tor back at base.

“In ad­di­tion, more than 350 sup­port ve­hi­cles are avail­able across the city day and night to pro­vide back up and as­sis­tance if re­quired.

“The per­cent­ages used in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of the home car­ers’ in this mi­nor­ity union are alarm­ing and don’t re­flect the to­tal staff num­bers.”

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