Parking penalties will only worsen care crisis – George
Andrew George MP and care worker Karen Garner
Local MP Andrew George is calling on health and care chiefs to give home care workers the same status as doctors when they are “on call”.
For months Mr George has pressed Cornwall Council chiefs to establish a consistent policy between their traffic enforcement and social care departments to ensure that the vulnerable and frail who need care in their homes can get it, and the home care workers who provide that help are supported in their work.
Working with some local home care agencies, Mr George has been urging the local authority traffic wardens to recognise and respect “care worker on call” badges when placed in cars which are parked in areas where parking restrictions apply. Care agencies and Mr George have highlighted the problems which home care workers experience especially in areas like St Ives, Penzance, Mousehole, Helston and other locations where it is difficult for care providers to find suitable parking spaces sufficiently close to the homes they are providing care in.
Recently, care worker Karen Garner who works for West Cornwall agency Phoenix Care, was issued with a parking ticket in Mousehole despite displaying the “care worker on call” sign in her car. The “care worker on call” sign has only unofficial status and does not have to be recognised by traffic wardens.
Mr George said, “This is one of the toughest jobs. Care workers often provide support and services which many of the rest of us are not prepared to do. They are not highly paid and are often not fully rewarded for their travel time and travel expenses.
“Whilst Government Ministers, health chiefs and others repeat the mantra that more people should be cared for in their homes and that support should be available to avoid unnecessary hospital admission and to enable earlier hospital discharge, our army of hardworking and under-recognised home care workers have to operate in some areas with a ball and chain attached to them. With nowhere to park and time running out they often have no choice than to find the best available parking location near the home that they are visiting at that time.
“If one government/local government department wants to expand home care services and another wants to rigorously enforce traffic and parking restrictions they shouldn’t leave health care workers caught in the middle. They should find a solution rather than penalising the vital work of this under-appreciated army of care workers. They should be treated as having the same status as a “doctor on call”.”
Whilst Mr George has already taken up the case of Karen Garner with the local authority he will continue with his campaign to press for fair treatment for home care workers.