Toll on front-line

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It was with much interest and identification that I read your article, “NHS ‘run on goodwill’ close to breaking point” (5 December).

This could equally have been written about front-line social work services in Scotland. I say that as someone with more than 28 years’ experience and following discussions with colleagues across Scotland.

A typical social worker, due to workload demands, will work at least one extra day a week in overtime for which you cannot claim financial remuneration but you may be able to claim your time back as time off in lieu.

In my experience you could not possibly do this as you have many more hours to take back than you have the time to do so.

It seems that in caring professions this is expected of staff.

This problem has increased greatly over the years with cutbacks in funding. For example, in my field of expertise, care of the elderly, what do you do when ten people need to be admitted to emergency care and your budget projection is for five?

We admit ten people into emergency care to reduce risk for the individual service user and stress for the family carer. Who then pays for this extra demand when there is no contingency budget plan for this?

It seems the present government in Scotland has many popular and so-called “free” policies, such as free personal care for the elderly and free prescriptions, but who is really paying the cost of this?

It certainly feels like the front-line council and NHS services.

The people who value us most are the service users, their carers and families.

I know this as someone who was nominated by a family carer earlier this year for Social Worker of the Year in Scotland, an award I accepted with great honour and privilege on behalf of the service users, family carers and colleagues who, like me, came into the caring profession to make a difference.

Jim Berry

Nicol Street

Kirkcaldy

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