England & Wales Health and social care

Diary of a home care worker, part 3



Each day this week, as part of the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce, we’re sharing the week in a life of a home care worker. This first hand account from a care worker in the North East of England highlights the issues of care quality and fair pay and conditions that the Commission is addressing.



A whole day without the worry of how much petrol will cost or if my brakes will continue to work. The car is booked in for repairs and I have a two man run with another driver. I was a little confused that my time sheets stated I started at 5am, but after phoning the other girl she said it was ok for her to pick me up at 7. It became quite obvious early on that this is call cramming at its worst!!

Each service user was rushed in a way I honestly haven’t seen before, on one occasion as we were leaving I said ‘I will just open the curtains ‘ to be told I had no time and her husband would have to do it! We managed to cover six hours work in less than four, the driver seemed positively proud of her ability to reduce the timing of calls. I was even warned before entering a house not to get into conversation as this would just hold us up! At one point I asked why she had so many people to see when it was obvious they were not getting the care and support they so needed. She told me the office staff knew she was quick so just piled on more meaning she could get paid 60-70 hours a week for working much less.

 I felt extremely disheartened at what I have seen today, but given the lack of pay and poor terms and conditions this way of working has become the ‘norm’ for many.

Tonight I feel like crying – I’m not sure if it’s work or the £280 I’ve just had to spend on the car. After finishing early I would have loved to take the kids somewhere nice but that’s quite frankly impossible, we walk to the park. I worry about using petrol for non work purposes.

  • Miles travelled: 0
  • Unpaid travel time: 0
  • Unpaid work hours: 0

Read Thursday’s entry and those from Monday and Tuesday and Friday



Find out more about the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce , make your own submission or contact Ingrid Koehler, Senior Policy Researcher at LGiU at [email protected]


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