Care wardens and the technology challenge (UK)

An item from a UK local newspaper, the Yorkshire Post, shows how even a small technological improvement can trigger negative publicity based on other people’s agendas: telecare users worry that it is the thin end of the wedge for loss of other services; wardens (scheme managers) worry that their jobs are at further risk; the union plays on both fears to strengthen its position. In the meantime, issues such as the waste of resources from sending people around every month to check community alarm installations (!) or the idea that the technology replaces human contact, go unchallenged. Union anger as care wardens for the elderly face jobs axe.

2 thoughts on “Care wardens and the technology challenge (UK)

  1. Job losses
    There is no doubt that some Councils see the introduction of telecare as a substitute for staff, and plan to make job reductions on the back of installations. Such Councils have missed the point and are doing a disservice to everyone else.

  2. pondering …

    … whether that union has actually had any discussions with the appropriate officers who would be decision makers? Rumourmongers exist in every area of life and a union in my area is certainly working only on hearsay or supposition.

    As Gerry says taking cost cutting and job reductions as the focus of Telecare will lead nowhere. Our human, trained and skilled care staff are needed to do what they are best at; technology is not a direct replacement but is an enhancement of our services complementing our staff’s hard work and freeing them to do tasks which technology can not.

    It is true that Telecare can offer cost benefits but those are only sustainable when they are achieved hand-in-hand with offering quality of care.

    An important reason we need to realise those savings is to provide for the many thousands of service users currently unknown to local authorities who receive their care from unpaid carers. Unpaid carers do resign from the role and the Local Authority has a statutory duty to provide the care needed when that happens.

    If we are successful in keeping more people independently in their own home for longer they will need different services to support them, including a range of warden based services … if the union had thought this through they would be pointing out the opportunities rather than causing fear.

    Of course the public sector has to face the same financial difficulties as every other organisation; the public sector needs to behave like a business instead of a club. Businesses make business decisions on activity and staffing … foolish businesses cut their highly skilled and focused front line staff at their peril!

    Maybe the unions should stop a few moments in their rumours and consider the outcome for their officers and representatives … staff fearing for their jobs and fleeing to a safer one may no longer need to pay subs … and then the unions will need to look at their own costs and savings? What goes around comes around!

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