UNISON Cymru/Wales has today revealed that employees at homecare companies contracted by the City and County of Swansea council and a neighbouring council were instructed to by their employer not to stay the full length of time with the client that is stipulated on the client care plan.
UNISON has suggested this deliberate breach was to save the employer money. The union has written to Swansea council calling for an urgent investigation to see if fraud has been committed. Public money paid by the council to care companies is on the basis of time stipulated in the care plan and not any lesser time. Intentionally forcing staff to cut short client visits damages the quality of care vulnerable people are receiving.
A recent report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales into contracted care provider, MiHomecare Swansea, confirmed that: “…staff were not always staying the allocated time at calls…” The Inspectorate was concerned,
“From the range of evidence gathered we felt that people’s rights and choices were not fully respected as they did not always receive the allocated time for their care package.”
UNISON Regional Organiser Eddie Gabrielsen said,
“Care workers are deeply unhappy with the situation. They are certainly not to blame and want to provide the best possible care to each of their clients. Forcing care workers to cut time is an affront to the dignity of vulnerable clients and we have written to the council’s fraud office to raise our concerns. Has MiHomecare or other providers of home care, been paid for time when they have not provided a service? If they have, who is responsible and has fraud taken place?”
The council’s fraud office has agreed to investigate.
UNISON has asked all Welsh authorities to sign up to an Ethical Care Charter which ensures not only dignity of care for patients but fair and decent employment standards for care staff.
The City and County of Swansea council promised to adopt the Charter in 2015 but has so far failed to do so.