It is almost a year since my regular contact with Bexley’s care workers ended
and inevitably their plight has fallen off my radar to some extent.
Bexley council took delight in ensuring that these people got a very raw deal and the former cabinet member Chris Taylor would brag at council meetings that he had financially screwed their agencies into the ground with the lowest payment rates in South East London.
The mainly young ladies who took on this vital work were only paid for the time they were in their patients’ houses and at minimum wage. They weren’t paid for the time taken to get to the next appointment, for the costs involved or any allowance for the car they had to buy for themselves.
Her Majesties’ Revenues and Customs had declared the terms of payment illegal but when has that ever stopped Bexley council, or I fear any council? There was a Radio 4 programme last Friday which revealed that nothing had changed since HMRC’s pronouncement. In Bexley the cabinet member has changed (see picture) but not the policy.
But maybe it is even worse than I knew. My contact with care workers was at an address with no parking restrictions. What if the only parking available is of the paid variety?
That is the situation outside my aunt’s house in East Ham. It is a residents only parking area and there is no alternative anywhere. There simply isn’t any unrestricted parking in Newham at all, at least not within a mile of my aunt’s house.
So although the care workers are supposed to show up four times a day and spend 15 minutes attending to matters, only the evening one can do any more than ask “Are you alright” and run back to their car within two or three minutes at most.
Unlike in Bexley where residents bays tend to be operational for only an hour or two a day Monday to Friday, Newham’s are 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
There is provision for a carer’s permit in Newham but the carers say that it is of use only if the care is to be continuous. The paperwork, which involves both doctors and social services, takes six weeks to process and the care package will have ended before then.
So not only do Newham’s Social Workers fight amongst each other to the detriment of patients but their department is at war with Parking Services too.
Meanwhile the money spent on care workers is mainly wasted and once again the patient suffers in the name of petty bureaucracy. Councils plead poverty and waste what money they have.
It’s a waste of time complaining to the Mayor of Newham, everyone I have met there says he never replies to anything. I feel a complaint to Stephen Timms MP coming on.
Does anyone know if Bexley caters for carers’ parking arrangements in a more sensible fashion or does idiocy reign supreme here too?