A care worker has launched a petition calling to ‘stop discrimination against healthcare workers not under the NHS umbrella’.

Kirsten Kohler, 54, of Pendle, is an area manager for a local domiciliary care company and has worked in the health care sector on and off for 20 years.

Following the ‘poor treatment of care workers throughout lockdown’, Kirsten is urging the government to issue an open apology to healthcare workers who aren’t employed by the NHS.

The petition states that the workers have been “made to feel less valuable for a job they do with dedication and love.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Kirsten Kohler has worked in the care sector for 20 years and is now calling for better treatment of health care workers not employed by the NHSKirsten Kohler has worked in the care sector for 20 years and is now calling for better treatment of health care workers not employed by the NHS

Sharing an example of the issues Kirsten and her staff have faced as workers who don’t receive the same benefits NHS works get, Kirsten said: “We struggled to get clients into hospital – often it took arguments to even get GP team to see them.

“If a carer now has covid symptoms they cannot come to work but can potentially lead a normal life but they will not get any loss of earnings for the waiting period before sick pay kicks in.

“Carers were advised to strip off outside their own homes, to wash their uniforms as there are no changing rooms for domiciliary workers. Guidelines stated certain washing powders should be used but these would often be brand names - people on low incomes cannot afford to do this.”

The petition also calls for an increase in wages and a flat rate for petrol for care workers having to use their own transport to carry out their job.

This call for action comes after Four Seasons Health Care - a facility that runs in Blackburn, Preston and Chorley took part in a nationwide day of action designed to persuade some of the country’s biggest care operators to commit to paying carers a minimum of £9.90 per hour.

The current national living wage – the minimum amount that workers can legally be given – stands at £9.50 per hour for the over-23s, £9.18 for those aged 21-22 and £6.83 for 18-20-year-olds.

Kirsten set up the petition in line with this plea for better financial support, however the petition also calls for dedicated mental health support for domiciliary workers.

It states: “We have heard enough promises and the only way to change this is by the Government to open their eyes and change things to ensure people are valued for the job they do.

“We cannot be discriminated against by exclusion from benefits because we are not NHS, we all need to work together on delivering the best care possible to our vulnerable in society, so please join and give your signature, it is free but may help to provoke the change for a better future.”

You can sign the petition here https://www.change.org/p/stop-discrimination-for-care-workers-not-under-the-nhs-umbrella?recruiter=1271314453&recruited_by_id=2cd1b390-039e-11ed-bb49-155bcb93ed60&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard

A care worker for the Pendle company has been contacted for a quote.