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Care workers cut short visits to elderly as workload soars

Social care workers are cutting short visits to frail elderly people, or working unpaid overtime to keep up with huge workloads, a new report finds.

Some are paid as little as £5 an hour for helping Britain’s growing number of older people to live at home – assisting with eating, taking medication and getting out of bed. One in three earns less than the national minimum wage or national living wage because they are not paid for time spent travelling between clients.

It found that for one in three care workers, pay is below the £7.38-an-hour national minimum wage for those aged 21-24, and less than the £7.83 minimum stipulated for those aged 25 or over under the national living wage because of unpaid travel time. Half said that they had no choice except to work on a zero-hours contract. “There is a high turnover of care workers which all too often results in people receiving sub-optimal levels of care,” the report said.

It also found “the present nature of the job often leaves [care workers] feeling isolated, demoralised, forgotten and undervalued”.

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