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Ulster's hard-working carers are heading for early graves

Regarding carers of the infirm and the elderly saving the NHS millions of pounds - I would like to ask what amount of money the Government must be saving by having Care in the Community.

These privately-owned companies that are paid massive amounts of money by local trusts employ poorly-paid workers to go into the community to provide all types of personal hygiene and care for the elderly.

Most men and women work 60-plus hours a week. We do a six-day week, usually without being asked. There are no overtime rates. Carers provide their own transport and are paid a petrol allowance which in many cases doesn't cover the cost of their overall fuel bill.

On top of that nothing is paid towards vehicle insurance or maintenance. Carers work 10 or 11 days, sometimes without a day off. This can lead to illness among carers.

If a carer is off work sick his or her rota is then split between other carers which makes their workload all the heavier.

Tea and lunch breaks are not a daily occurrence except for office staff, which have a 40-hour week and every weekend at home.

The owners of these establishments are making fortunes; the hard-worked carers are heading for early graves.

What are Government and trusts going to do about this injustice?

Concerned Carer, Belfast


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